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Energy Standards Spell Trouble

Energy Standards Spell Trouble For Water Heaters, Households

Friday, April 12th, 2002

Minimum energy standards compromise older homes

The new Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for electric storage water heaters spell problems for householders looking to replace existing water heaters from February 1st next year, the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) warns.

Manufacturers advised the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) that the new mandatory compliance rules from February 2003 would disrupt the market and penalise householders.

"The new insulation requirements under the MEPS scheme can be met by less than 20 per cent of manufacturers and only if larger water heating cylinders can be accommodated," said Garth Wyllie, Executive Officer for EMA.

"Households without adequate space around their existing water heating cylinders will have to modify the area to make the new cylinders fit, and there may be an inadequate supply of electric storage water cylinders available.

"Prices will go up for a compliant water heater since the additional insulation required costs more.

"EECA ignored manufacturer's pleas to allow more time to develop new insulation materials before making the new system mandatory - consumers will pay the price.

"While the new rules apply only to electric storage water heaters, the suppliers of Gas storage water heaters are equally concerned that similar rules could be applied to them without due consultation and beyond their ability to comply.

"Manufacturers fully support the moves to conserve energy and the introduction of the mandatory minimum energy standards but wanted time to minimise market disruption.

"But we're again going further than our trading partners. The Australia MEPS requirements can be met by existing water storage heating production.

"EMA is calling for a review of the introduction period to allow manufacturers time to comply and protect the jobs of local companies who at present might be jeopardised by arbitrary decision making."

Ends

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