EU ban on electric appliances

EU ban on electric appliances may push SA imports

One country’s trash is another country’s treasure, as the EU might soon find out when it introduces a ban on a host of high performance electrical appliances

EU ban on electric appliances

Going to SA anytime soon? Your friends and relatives might ask you to bring back loads of small appliances – enough to fill extra suitcases – as the European Union (EU) is planning to clamp down on energy consumption at home by cutting the wattage across a wide variety of electrical devices.

High performance vacuum cleaners are already barred as of this month but hairdryers, electric kettles and lawnmowers might be next in line. The EU plans to publish a comprehensive list of all appliances that will be affected by the changes next spring; these will all be banned in accordance with the respective energy consumption targets set by the EU in a bid to address climate change concerns. Over 30 kinds of electrical devices have been identified in a study, and the new regulations will reportedly target at least 20 from the shortlist.

Electrical appliances are intended to save up to 30 percent of the energy which they are currently using, as energy bureaucrats in Brussels have decided to introduce the new guidelines governing energy efficiency. Whether the plans will actually be useful or not is yet to be seen, as critics of the scheme have argued that cutting energy consumption by a third would typically result in people using their appliances for longer to achieve the same result – as in the case of electric kettles and hair dryers (should these be affected by the next set of guidelines in spring 2015).

In the lead-up to the new ban, sales have soared for vacuum cleaners, which will no longer be allowed to have motors going above 1,600 watts. On the long-run, the practise may cause unhappy consumers to import smaller appliances from travels abroad (outside the EU) in the future – although the practise would be technically deemed illegal and devices might be confiscated at your port of entry if your luggage was searched. However, wholesale imports from countries that maintain appliances with higher wattages will not be allowed.

Whether or not South Africa might catch up with the trend is currently unknown. However, SA is by no means behind the times, with the country gradually introducing its own set of electricity safety guidelines.