As of today (1st), all refrigerators that reach the Brazilian market, manufactured nationally or imported, must display the new Electric Energy Conservation Label (Ence) from the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (Inmetro). The new label brings three subclasses, indicating a consumption difference of up to 30% between the most efficient products. In addition, it introduces a QR Code that, at first, will send the consumer to the status of the refrigerator registration, “whether it is active, inactive, suspended or cancelled”.
According to the head of the Institute’s Division of Verification and Technical Scientific Studies (Divet), Hércules Souza, “in fact, it has to be always active. It means to say that that refrigerator meets the requirements established in the regulation and is approved by Inmetro to be marketed in the national market”.
Hercules Sousa clarified that initially, the QR Code will only do the link with the registration page, and the consumer himself will be able to check the status of the record of that refrigerator. This is the novelty that Inmetro is now implementing with the new label. The Divet boss said, however, that there is a parallel project to make this QR Code more robust.
This month, Inmetro will hire a company that will create a platform, in which not only information from the status of the refrigerator registration, but will also associate informative videos for the intelligent use of refrigerators, with tips for the consumer to be aware and obtain efficient use of the product. Souza informed that the consumer, from the QR Code, will also be able to access a kind of expense calculator, to have an idea of the consumption and the monetary value that will have in his energy bill for the use of a more economical refrigerator, in compared to a less efficient device.
“It will be possible, using the electric energy billing values in the region, to define this information in a more financially qualified way. And he (the consumer) will be able to do something else, which is to compare refrigerators of the same category in terms of volume. He will also be able to say which one is the most economical, has the greatest efficiency in terms of energy and also money”. According to the Inmetro technician, the idea is to create a tool to promote even more subsidies for consumer decision-making, using the national energy conservation efficiency label. The pilot platform is expected to be ready to be tested by the end of this year. Air conditioners will be the second product to receive a QR Code on the label.
The new label for refrigerators introduces the subclasses A+++, A++ and A+ to classify models that consume, respectively, 30%, 20% and 10% less energy than the traditional “A”. With this, Inmetro intends to highlight to the consumer which product really uses less energy and encourage the industry to adopt new technologies in its products, so that they become more efficient. Retailers have until June 30, 2023 to continue selling products with the old label. “We even hope that this will happen long before the deadline”.
Sousa also said that many products were labeled according to the old logic and must continue to be supplied to the consumer. He admitted, however, that products with the new label can already be found on the market. “Many products have already been labeled. It was very much up to the manufacturer or importer to make this change. Some have already anticipated the date of June 30, 2022 because, as of July 1, all refrigerators have to be labeled in the new format, but you can still find this coexistence of the old label with the new one because, in fact, he may have already sold the production to the commerce and has no way of bringing it back for labeling again. It would be a double task, and we cannot impose it on the regulated entity”.
The consumer must be aware to live with the old label, which provides only category A information. The subclasses inserted now better qualify this group of refrigerators that are in category A. It will be up to the consumer to contact the manufacturer to try to understand in which category, in this new labeling, the refrigerator can be considered. “We expect 100% to have the new label, well before the deadline of June 30, 2023′. Inmetro estimates that there are few manufacturers and importers who have not yet made the change. “Because they are also interested in showing that their product is in a more efficient category than A, which ended up encompassing everything, without making any differentiation”.
Souza acknowledged that there will be a “war” between the manufacturers to show that their product is in the A+++ subgroup and, therefore, outperforms the others. “The label also has this role of promoting the search for greater efficiency. Then, manufacturers end up making this race to offer a product with greater efficiency and, with that, less energy consumption, encouraged by an industry that adopts new technologies in its products to make, in this case, refrigerators, in fact, more efficient. That’s the very idea. We are provoking this race against time, for the market to offer more efficient refrigerators for the consumer at the end”.
The head of Divet highlighted that Inmetro has the help of consumers to act against manufacturers and importers who do not meet the deadline and keep refrigerators with old labels after June 30, 2023. “We ask the consumer to identify this problem , enter the Inmetro channels. The Ombudsman is the way to make complaints. If he finds a product at the point of sale that is not within the new labeling, we will go there to inspect and charge the company responsible for it”. Souza assured that this is an irregular practice and shows that the manufacturer or importer is not complying with the rules of the regulation. The partnership with the consumer helps Inmetro to curb this practice. The company can be fined, have the product withdrawn from the market, in addition to suffering a fine, whose value is determined according to internal dosimetry degrees applied by Inmetro.
The Brazilian Labeling Program (PBE) for refrigerators was updated in 2021, through Ordinance No. 332, which established new rules for classifying the energy efficiency of products, through the adoption of subclasses so that the consumer can identify which models in fact more efficient within the A class. Two more reclassifications were determined, one in 2025 and another in 2030, in which the rigor for the classification of energy efficiency is gradually increasing.