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Company prosecuted for breaching energy standard

21 February 2008
First New Zealand company prosecuted for breaching energy performance standards

A Christchurch company today became the first business in New Zealand to be convicted for selling products that do not meet our Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

The Christchurch District court found that the Crystal branded heat pumps sold by the Matipo Trading Company Limited (trading as the Cargo Shed Christchurch), did not meet the standards and were not labelled with the mandatory energy performance labels.

This is the first conviction under the Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002. The Cargo Shed was convicted and fined $15,000 and costs.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is responsible for maintaining and enforcing the standards in New Zealand as part of its ongoing products programme. A key part of ensuring the effectiveness of this programme is monitoring compliance in the market place and prosecuting where necessary.

“EECA is serious about keeping energy guzzling appliances out of New Zealand, and we are pleased that the court has taken the same view,” said Mike Underhill, EECA Chief Executive today.

“Minimum energy performance standards save New Zealand millions of dollars on energy bills every year.

“For example, consumers who purchased a non-compliant 3.5 kW heat pump, like those at the centre of this case, may end up paying at least $3000 more for electricity over the life of the unit, when compared to a MEPS compliant unit.

“The absence of the energy rating labels denied consumers the ability to make an informed decision about what they were buying, taking into account not just the initial capital cost, but also the whole of life cost, which includes the running costs. In this case that could add up to 850% more than the purchase price,” said MikeUnderhill.

“Consumers buying appliances should always look for the Energy Rating Label, which gives you information on how much energy a product uses, so you can compare between models, and the ENERGY STAR ® which is awarded to the most energy efficient products in each category.”

In 2007 New Zealandachieved savings of approximately 1.8 Petajoules of energy and $71 million as a result of EECA’s products programme which includes a combination of regulation, labelling and information.

Consumers who purchased any Crystalbranded AC units from Cargo Shed Christchurch should contact Cargo Shed directly in the first instance.

More information on consumers’ and traders’ rights and responsibilities under consumer law, in particular the Consumer Guarantees Act and Fair Trading Act, is available from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Ends –

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