PEOPLE always need money to meet their needs but there is also the need to save a little of whatever money you have. Savings can be done in many ways, particularly by decreasing electricity and water bills. One way of paying less electricity bills is by using energy efficient refrigerators and freezers. But with the various brands of refrigerating appliances available in the market, some people are misled through false claims on energy ratings. Today, we look at the energy rating issue and what people can do to ensure they buy the right refrigerator or freezer.
IT is being adopted in the country now in an effort to save energy.
And it would mean that consumers will ultimately end up paying less in bills if they use energy efficient refrigerators and freezers.
The Department of Energy has through recent paid advertisements informed that the Trade Standards (Household Electric Refrigerating Appliances) Order 2007 has come into effect from January 1 this year.
It highlighted that the Australia/New Zealand standard on performance of refrigerating appliances was now being adopted in the country in an effort to save energy.
The Consumer Council of Fiji said the adopted standards for refrigerators and freezers would now require traders and suppliers to apply and seek approval for registration and importation of such appliances.
While the council said it appreciates the initiative shown by the authorities, more work was needed to be done to clean-up the mess in the electrical appliances market.
"The council through its market surveillance checked 14 different brands of refrigerators for compliance with the energy rating labels," said the council's chief executive officer Premila Kumar.
Mrs Kumar said the council found that the different energy rating labels carried different colour shades rather than having a standard colour.
She said the green band at the bottom of the original energy rating label was missing in some labels.
"The credibility of the star rating is at stake. In some cases, one and a half star rating label carries a message 'rated 3.5 stars on old scale'."
"Such labels are creating confusion and consumers are questioning why the label is referring to new scale and old scale."
Mrs Kumar said the brand name and model number stated on most energy rating labels could not be found on www.energyrating.gov.au if one wished to verify the energy rating or efficiency of the refrigerators as stated on the label.
"The market is flooded with generic products or 'home brands' defined as brands without factories with misleading and false claims on energy ratings which are not in line with the standard used in Australia and New Zealand."
She said some brands were not on the website according to the energy rating level affixed on the refrigerators.
"This is a deceptive method used by traders to convince consumers that they are buying energy efficient products.
"Hence, energy rating labels on refrigerators sold locally becomes meaningless when the information and claims on the labels are incorrect."
Mrs Kumar said the enforcement agency should ensure that traders adhere to the standards that were introduced.
She said labels should not mislead consumers who were spending a substantial amount of money in buying energy efficient product to reduce energy consumption.
The council said it would soon mount an awareness program on energy rating labels in an effort to educate and alert the consumers.
How to compare models on the web
1. Go to home page www.energyrating.gov.au
2. Click on compare products.
3. Select the type of appliance to compare, for example refrigerator/freezer - AS/NZS 4474.2.
4. Enter all the details as required - the model name/number. Items which are no longer manufactured or have run out can still be searched.
5. Enter the cost of electricity details and click search to see results.
Source: Consumer Council of Fiji