Energy efficient products and services

Submissions closed: 28 July 2021, 5pm

MBIE is currently seeking submissions on Energy efficient products and services: A regulatory reform discussion document.

About the consultation

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000 (The Act) provides the legal basis for promoting energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand.

The Act enables the making and amending of Energy Efficiency (Energy Using Products) Regulations 2002 (the Product Regulations), which regulate energy-using products through prescribing minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and energy-rating labelling requirements that apply to manufacturers and importers. MEPS and/or labelling requirements currently apply to a range of household and commercial products and appliances, including air conditioners/heat pumps, dishwashers, refrigerators and televisions.

The Act also enables the making and amending of Energy Efficiency (Vehicle Fuel Economy Labelling) Regulations 2007 (the Vehicle Regulations) that create a national system for regulating the energy efficiency of vehicles sold in New Zealand. It is mandatory for light vehicles to display Vehicle Fuel Economy Labels (VFEL) when offered for sale by a registered motor vehicle trader.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) monitors and enforces compliance with these requirements, and develops and consults on proposed new requirements.

2019 review

In 2019, EECA initiated a review of The Act and the Product Regulations. The Product Regulations have not been reviewed since their introduction in 2002.

The Review found that despite the achievements of the Product Regulations to date, EECA experiences operational constraints and some divergent regulatory practices compared to Australia, which creates issues for our ongoing cooperation under the Trans-Tasman Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Programme.

Under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA), goods that are imported or produced in Australia or New Zealand can be legally sold in the other jurisdiction. The E3 programme facilitates the harmonisation of MEPS and energy-rating label requirements for energy-using products, and ensures policy is developed in consideration of the TTMRA.

To summarise, the key issues highlighted by the 2019 Review include:

  1. unnecessary burden on Cabinet decision-making;
  2. inflexible to market movement and innovation;
  3. misalignment with Australia’s system;
  4. limited access to information;
  5. limited market coverage and;
  6. limited investigative powers and enforcement tools.

The discussion document contains a range of proposals to address these issues, and ensure that the energy efficiency regulatory system remains fit-for-purpose. Updates to the regulatory system are also intended to contribute to the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan.

What we are seeking feedback on

MBIE is seeking your feedback on proposals to enhance the energy efficiency regulatory system for products and services, and support the achievement of New Zealand’s future energy efficiency and emissions reduction goals.

The proposals are grouped into five parts in the discussion document:

Part 1

Future-proofing the System aims to expand the coverage of the requirements to reflect product innovation and streamline the decision-making process for amending and improving regulations to respond to product and market changes, and expands the role EECA currently plays in managing emissions abatement.

Part 2

Consistent and Fair Regulation also expands the coverage of the regulations to reflect the evolving ways that goods can be bought or sold in the market, and proposes to regularly review the energy efficiency regime so that it does not lag behind our trade partners nor risks New Zealand becoming a dumping ground for poor performing products.

Part 3

Improving System Administration aims to make the system easier for EECA and agents acting on its behalf to administer, as well as rebalancing the costs of administering the system to make it fairer for the regulator and regulated parties.

Part 4

Ensuring Effective Compliance looks to expand EECA’s monitoring, inspection and investigation powers that are currently limited and enforcement measures that are not proportionate, in order to improve compliance outcomes and the effectiveness of the regulatory regime

Part 5

Delivering Good and Fair Process clarifies responsibilities for regulated parties and provides greater predictability regarding new or updated requirements, making it easier to comply, and providing a process for those affected by regulatory decisions to be heard.

Last updated: 22 July 2021