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Energy efficient appliance manufacturer and distributor concerns are being addressed

| Supplier news

The backlog in issuing Letters of Authorisation (LoAs) for compliant energy efficient appliances was raised at a stakeholder meeting earlier this month as a key concern for the manufacturing and retail industry.

At the most recent engagement, which was hosted by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA), the National Regulatory of Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) was on hand to answer queries and concerns from the industry.

Mr Lancelot Riyano, Technical Specialist at NRCS confirmed that the organisation had been experiencing teething problems in making the LoA processes as efficient as possible, and recognised that changes were needed in the system.

The NRCS confirmed that they have put in place a number of interventions to speed up the issuing of LoAs to the industry and to comply to a turnaround period of 120 working days or 4 months, which was reduced from 6 months.

Riyano advised the industry that applications are now being sorted as they enter the system according to a predetermined risk profile. Lower risk applications will be fast tracked through the LoA process.

At the same time, bottlenecks in the administration process are being addressed to improve turnaround times. Renewals are now being separated from new applications to ensure waiting
times are reduced. Previously technical staff at the NRCS were also responsible for administration, however, dedicated administration staff are now being appointed to alleviate the technical staff and improve efficiencies during verification process.

Retailers have voiced their concern that they are not willing to take stock into their store without a LoA and manufacturers have stock in warehouses that can’t be moved into stores due to the 120- day wait for a LoA to be issued. The NRCS have confirmed that they will allow the proof of application to be used as a LoA proxy in the interim while the backlog and system refinements are in progress.

The Department of Energy also confirmed that some of the delay in issuing LoAs was due to the changes that were made to the Energy Efficient Label design, but these have now been approved and an updated label guideline is available to the industry for immediate use on receipt of the LoA. The Department also confirmed that the old label design was still valid, and manufactures and retailers would not be penalised for using the old label but were encouraged to start using the new design with their next LoAs.

Stakeholders also noted concerns around appliance testing facilities, costs and turn-around times. The Department of Energy confirmed that accredited third party test reports from outside South Africa are acceptable for the LoA process and advised that the SABS is also looking at process improvements to better serve the industry which would be shared at the next meeting.

States Maphuti Legodi , DoE S&L Project, “Manufacturers should start seeing improved turnaround times by August this year with the NRCS providing the industry with criteria used to access their risk profile. As with any new compliance project we are experiencing unforeseen challenges and want to thank the industry for continuing to work with us in finding solutions to ensure that as a country we become more energy efficient.”

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