Energy efficiency labelling campaign launched at the utility week conference

May 17, 2016

The Minister of Energy, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Danish Ambassador, Ms. Trine Raskl Thygesen and UNDP Country Director, Mr. Walid Badawi, unveiling the energy label

With South Africa’s on-going electricity crisis and in a bid to reduce the daily energy consumption per household, the Department of Energy (DoE) officially launched the Energy efficiency labelling campaign at the 16th Africa Utility Week Conference held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  This initiative is part of the USD$13 million project to promote energy efficiency in South Africa, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and implemented in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).

The label has been designed to provide the South African consumer with accurate and comparable information that enables an informed purchase decision when buying household appliances. The advantage to consumers is that they have an opportunity to play an active role both in achieving savings on electricity consumption, as well as making a meaningful contribution to the effort on reducing carbon emissions. 

The mandatory energy efficiency label, which is being implemented on select local and internationally manufactured products, provides information on the appliance’s annual energy consumption.   Rated on a sliding scale from A (green) appliance to D (red) appliance, consumers are able to determine the extent to which their purchase is energy efficient.  Consumers buying energy efficient appliances will benefit from cost savings through a direct reduction in their monthly electricity charges. “But it’s not only about saving money. Consumers who adhere to this label are also part of a broader movement to reduce the unrelenting pressure on South Africa’s dwindling energy resources and contribute towards a greener South Africa,” says Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Minister of Energy.

Speaking at the launch, on the role of energy efficiency in reducing carbon emissions, the UNDP Country Director, Walid Badawi, said that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement (COP21), by the countries of the world acknowledge that decisive action to adapt and mitigate climate change would be significant element towards attaining sustainable development.

“The dedicated Goals SDG 7 and SDG 13, tasked nations to ‘ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services’ and to take ‘urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’, respectively”, said Badawi.

The Energy Efficiency standards were finalised in 2012 by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and since then manufacturers have been complying with the labelling appliances according to these standards. This is however the first time the DoE together with the United Nations Development Programme will back a consumer awareness campaign to educate consumers about the label and the benefits of using electricity sparingly. “We are embarking on a vigorous communications campaign with the main objective to change consumers’ buying behaviour when purchasing appliances,” said Minister. Joemat-Pettersson.

“My department is working with the DoE and we are targeting to achieve 15% by implementing energy efficiency measures in public buildings”, said Jacob Maroga, Deputy - Director General, for facilities management in the department of public works.

“After cleaning up its asset register, the government has 100,000 properties under its control, making it the seventh largest landlord in South Africa” he added.

DoE believes that a nation knowledgeable of the benefits of energy efficiency and the dedicated activation of the appropriate behaviour by all of us will ensure that the country achieves its set energy efficiency objectives.

The partnership between UNDP and the DoE is undertaking further complementary work to promote energy efficiency. Among the programme’s priorities are; improving monitoring, verification and enforcement of the use of the label and improving the capacity of the testing facilities as well as facilitating improved cooperation with the private sector especially product manufacturers.