Trial in UK to have appliance labels show electricity costs

Rebecca Smithers writes in the Guardian about a new appliance label that is being tested at the UK department store, John Lewis. This is a trial, sponsored by the UK government, that will last for six months. The label includes the lifetime electricity costs.  It will be interesting to see how consumers react to it.


John Lewis puts lifetime electricity cost on product labels

John Lewis label

Government-backed scheme aims to show people how energy efficient appliances can help them save on energy bills

Labels showing lifetime electricity running cost will be put on electrical and other household appliances at John Lewis stores

John Lewis is to trial a new product-labelling scheme that, for the first time, will give consumers the lifetime electricity running costs on the most popular household ‘white goods’ such as washing machines, washer dryers and tumble dryers.

Backed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, it is intended to enable people to better understand how energy efficient products can bring real savings to household bills. By choosing a more energy-efficient washer dryer when replacing an old appliance, for example, it is claimed that consumers could save over £500 on its lifetime energy costs.

The six month pilot involves displaying the average lifetime electricity running costs in a number of John Lewis product categories. The aim is to test the effect of putting the lifetime running costs of appliances on product labels – as opposed to just how many kilowatt hours of energy they use per year, information that will still remain. It is hoped that the labels will lead to an increase in the number of energy efficiency products being sold.

Speaking at the launch of the scheme at John Lewis in central London, energy secretary Edward Davey said: “In the past, people have had no idea how much their appliances will add to their energy bills. Now consumers will be able to see clear, simple information on the lifetime electricity costs for appliances like washing machines and tumble dryers. This will help people to make better, more informed decisions and see how much an appliance is expected to cost over its lifetime.”

Davey hopes the collaboration with John Lewis – one of Britain’s biggest high street names – will help raise consumer awareness of energy running costs and “lead to more retailers rolling out clearer labelling.”

Stephen Cawley, head of sustainability at John Lewis, said: “We are looking forward to reviewing the results of the trial next year and seeing how customers respond to new, more transparent labelling around the energy efficiency of these products.”

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