A new ‘right to repair’ law comes into force today, making a range of home appliances such as fridges, washing machines, and televisions cheaper to run.
The average consumer could now save around £75 under the new efficiency rules.
The government says the new ‘right to repair’ law on electrical products will tackle “premature obsolescence” – a short lifespan deliberately built into an appliance by manufacturers which leads to unnecessary and costly replacements for the consumer.
For the first time ever, manufacturers are now legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers so that electrical appliances can be fixed easily.
It means that anyone buying white goods or televisions in shops or online can rest assured that if anything breaks outside of their warranty, spare parts will be available for them to get the appliance repaired.
Not only will the change mean energy bill savings of £75 on average, the government says it will also tackle the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste that’s generated in the UK every year.
Changes are estimated to extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years.
Here’s the items the new rules apply to:
Electronic displays (including televisions)
Light sources and separate control gears
External power suppliers
Refrigerators with a direct sales function (e.g – fridges in supermarkets, vending machines for cold drinks)
Consumers will still need to be within warranty or guarantee to get the repairs free of charge.
Those who are out of this period will most likely need to pay a professional or the manufacturer itself to fix the item, but in the past, the complexity of repairing these goods meant that it was often more cost-effective to buy a new one.
Now, consumers could save hundreds by simply fixing the broken part instead, and even with repair fees, this could work out cheaper than buying an entirely new product.
The introduction of the law follows on from new energy labels that were introduced on 1 March to help consumers find out the electrical efficiency of their appliance.
Speaking on the introduction of the new law, Anne Marie Trevelyan – Minister of State for Energy – said: “The tougher standards coming in today will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than have to be thrown away when they stop working, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers, as we build back greener.”
Environmental expert Libby Peake – Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance – said that the new regulations “represent a small, first step towards giving people the long-lasting repairable products they want”.
However she said it was not accurate to say the new rules create a “legal right to repair”.
“The government hasn’t given consumers any such right, as the spare parts and repairability criteria are only directed at professional repairers, not at the people who own products,” she said.
“There is also no guarantee that spare parts and repair services will be affordable, so considerable barriers remain to making this the easiest, default option.”
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.
GMP officers in the Bolton district are keen to hear from anyone with information that could lead to the suspects described above.
Detective Inspector, Stuart Woodhead of Bolton’s CID said: “We understand this will be a worrying incident for those in the local area, but rest assured we are working hard to identify the two suspects and continue to increase patrols as a result to offer visible reassurance.
“This happened in broad daylight in a public place, so we would urge anyone with details either of the incident or who may know who the two suspects are to come forward in confidence as our investigation continues and we look at all possible lines of enquiry.”
The GMP statement added: “If anyone has any information they are urged to ring the district direct on 0161 856 5757. Alternatively details can be shared via the LiveChat portal on gmp.police.uk or anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”