Toasters are now officially exempt from the rule Getty Images

Toasters are now officially exempt from the rule.

A Tempest in an (Electric) Teapot Over the EU's New Energy-Saving Rules

Kettles, hand dryers, solar panels, lifts, refrigerating containers and building automation control systems are expected to be added to the existing list of products that must meet more stringent energy-saving standards. But toasters get a reprieve.

BRUSSELS—The EU will target more household appliances under energy consumption rules but will grant a reprieve to toasters after the plan was ridiculed during the Brexit campaign, a senior official said Tuesday.

Kettles, hand dryers, solar panels, lifts, refrigerating containers and building automation control systems are expected to be added at the end of November to the existing list of products that must meet more stringent energy-saving standards.

"We want to put the products on the list that have the highest energy yield, based on scientific evidence," European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told a conference organised by a consumer group in Brussels.

"That's why kettles are on the list... and that's why toasters are not on the list."

The EU has already imposed limits on a series of appliances including vacuum cleaners and washing machines which are due to come into force next year.

But the plans became a battleground in Britain's June 23 referendum on whether to leave the European Union.

The Vote Leave campaign highlighted vacuum cleaners and said the EU wanted to "outlaw British toasters and kettles" while eurosceptic newspapers lambasted the plans.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper suggested Brussels had postponed the kettle and toaster plans until after the referendum result because it was so controversial.

Timmermans admitted that the outcry had affected the decision, especially at a time when he is spearheading a drive to cut red-tape in a bloc that is often seen as overly bureaucratic.

"It took probably more time if we did not have this backdrop of anti-EU campaigning on the basis of previous ecodesign decisions," Timmermans said.

"We are very sensitive to what we have seen happening... Do we really to go into regulating vacuum cleaners and shower heads?

"But after careful analysis, you have to make a choice whether you go along with this rhetoric or whether you let the evidence speak for itself and take a decision."

The European Commission says an average consumer saves 500 euros a month from the current energy-saving plans.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016.

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