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Two months of mandatory energy labeling of household appliances in Russia

Ekaterina Uspenskaya

In November 2009, the Russian State Duma adopted the Law on energy saving and energy efficiency. In accordance with Article 10 of the Law, selling of incandescent bulbs of 100 watts and above is prohibited since January 1, 2011. Since the same date, placing orders for supply of incandescent bulbs for the state or municipal needs is prohibited. Shoppers have noticed the disappearance of high-power incandescent bulbs from the shop shelves.

Under the same Law, starting from January 1, 2011, household energy-consuming devices sold in the territory of the Russian Federation must contain information about the class of their energy efficiency in the technical documentation for those products, on their surfaces, and in the information papers. By its Resolution 1222 of 31.12.2009, the Russian government applied this rule to household refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, air conditioners, dishwashers, electric ovens, and electric bulbs. The same requirement will be imposed since January 1, 2012, to: computer monitors, printers, copiers, and passenger and cargo-passenger lifts. Since December 1, 2012, the rule will apply to household electric kitchen-stoves, microwave ovens, TV sets, electric heating appliances, electric boilers and flow heaters. Code of Administrative Offences provides for importers and manufacturers the fine of 150 thousand rubles (about 5000 US$) with confiscation of goods for violation of the Law on energy saving.

Alexander Fedorov, co-chairman of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union, comments: "It is regrettable that the Government has significantly narrowed the list of products subject to energy labeling. Compared with the law, the list excludes electric kettles, coffee machines, irons, vacuum cleaners, gas ovens, audio equipment, computers and many other household and office devices, which account for a significant proportion of total energy consumption in households. It is also unfortunate that for many products the introduction of energy labels is delayed for almost two years."

As of today, most of the products in shops of St.Petersburg delivered after January 1, 2011, are accompanied with the information on their energy efficiency class. However, in violation of the law, this information is often lacking on the product surface and on the price information sheet. Moreover, stores still sell such products as, for example, refrigerators from the old supply without energy labels, which is about 80% of their total amount.

Evgeny Vladimirov from the St. Petersburg Society for Protection of Consumers' Rights stresses that consumers have the right for access to full information about the product granted by the Law on protection of consumers' rights. It is important to know about power consumption of products at their purchase, as this will affect financial expenses of the consumer. Vladimirov adds that the main problem is about domestic products, because the required labeling is already present on most imported ones.

According to some interviewed representatives of store chains, the rules for determining the class of energy efficiency are sometimes not clear enough. In particular, it concerns household heating appliances. So far, manufacturers and importers do not label these products, benefiting from the fact that it is still almost 2 years until the moment when it becomes mandatory.

Olga Senova, the head of the RSEU Climate Secretariat, believes that a large drawback in the implementation of the Law on energy saving is the absence of information system for trade professionals, as well as of a broad system for public education about the benefits of energy efficient products, and ignoring NGO resources in this sphere. In 2010, regional centers for energy saving education were created in some regions of Russia, as a rule, based on structures of the energy industry. However, they can work with a very small part of the population. At the same time, NGOs have considerable experience of work with the public. Member organisations of the Social Ecological Union have a great experience of work on informing the public, teachers, and schoolchildren on energy efficiency issues in St.Petersburg and Leningrad region, Apatity, Arkhangelsk, Moscow and Moscow region, Bryansk, Nizhny Novgorod, Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Vladivostok and many other regions.

In its decisions, the RSEU (http://rusecounion.ru/konf_rez_261110) has already expressed the need to create conditions for participation of non-governmental organisations in developing training programmes, manuals on energy efficiency and climate change and in promoting energy-efficient solutions, including the procedures of state procurement.