EST tells Eurocrats to keep A-G rating

It may not be as sacred as the pint or the pound, but campaigners in the UK are up in arms over EU proposals to change the energy efficiency label.

The Energy Saving Trust has said the plans to ditch the A to G ratings for a system mixing letters and numbers risks confusing millions of consumers across Europe.

An Energy Saving Trust poll of 7.000 people across Europe found that seven out of 10 people find the A to G scheme much easier to understand than other schemes being considered in EU member states.

More than 90% of those surveyed also said they were aware of the ratings system, which is commonly found on washing machines and other white goods.

Edward Hyams, chairman of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “Our message is simple – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

He said although the label should stay as it is, the top ‘A’ rating should regularly be made tougher to achieve to encourage manufacturers to keep improving the energy efficiency of their products.

“I would have thought that the EU had enough on their plates at the moment without wasting time, money and effort changing something that nine out of 10 people across Europe already understand and recognise,” he added.

In 1999, A-rated fridges accounted for just 4% of all fridge purchases, but by April last year, that figure had risen to almost 72%. Washing machines saw an increase from 12% to almost 100% over the same period.

Dr David Lewis, a psychologist and consumer behaviour expert, said people are bombarded with more than 2,000 signs a day.

“It’s a battle between the conscious and subconscious and sometimes we don’t know which one is ruling our decisions,” he said.

“Some are simple daily events, such as what coffee to buy, but others are more complex and costly, such as which car or plasma TV to purchase.

“So unsurprisingly, the bigger, bolder and simpler the signposts are, the easier the decision and the less room for confusion.”

Watch energy experts and members of the public explain why they want to keep the A to G ratings below.

Kate Martin

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