Report reveals ‘policy blackhole’ on energy efficient goods

The Government is being urged to incentivise consumers by introducing a scrappage scheme for energy-wasting domestic appliances after a new report identified a significant overspend on energy-inefficient appliances.

The report, commissioned by environmental charity Global Action Plan (GAP) and produced by the Institute of Public Ploicy Research (IPPR), reveals that UK households could instantly cut their energy bills by £75 – £2bn a year for all UK households – by switching to energy efficient domestic appliances.

“Consumers are hit twice when faced with rising energy bills,” said Trewin Restorick, chief executive of GAP. “They’re paying for unnecessary electricity usage due to energy-inefficient appliances, and then forking out for ever-increasing subsidies to produce energy that is not actually needed in the first place.

“We need to boost the uptake of energy efficient appliances in the UK. Financial incentives that directly benefit customers’ pockets are key. Helping consumers lower energy consumption through using more efficient appliances, resulting in lower bills and reduced carbon emissions, is a win-win situation.

“What’s more, the benefits kick-in immediately for both consumers and the environment.”

The report discovered that UK consumers spend over £8bn a year powering domestic electrical appliances – around £300 per household. Currently, appliances and lighting account for a quarter of the UK’s energy consumption and over 40% of household energy bills.

Scrappage and labelling

As energy prices continue to soar, GAP is calling on the Government to urgently introduce financial incentives; to enable consumers to immediately slash bills by boosting uptake of energy efficient appliances.

By introducing a scrappage scheme to help consumers replace inefficient appliances, or tax credits when new, the Government could put the power back in the hands of consumers to take control of their household bills, the report says.

Restorick added that better labelling systems are also ‘crucial’; to allow consumers to make an informed decision when purchasing a new appliance.

“The current labelling system is confusing, and consumers often mistake A-rated fridge freezers as being highly efficient, when in fact they are now the least efficient models on the market,” he said.

This report comes in the same week that the Government announced details of a new ‘Home Improvement Fund’ that will offer thousands of pounds to homeowners implementing energy efficiency improvements, such as the installation of energy-efficient appliances like gas boilers and waste water heat recovery systems.

To download the full report – Promoting highly efficient electrical appliances – click here.

Luke Nicholls

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