How will vacuum cleaner energy label withdrawal affect EU market?

After the recent withdrawal of Regulation 665/2013, vacuum cleaners may no longer have energy labelling in the EU, and the label must be removed from devices currently on sale, both in stores and on the internet.

The EU Commission has not filed an appeal against a ruling by the European Court of Justice (EUJ), and as of 18 January 2019, vacuum cleaners may no longer have energy labelling.

“Since the energy labelling regulation applies to suppliers and dealers, those will face the biggest changes based upon the court ruling,” says Vice President, Energy & Environment, Jon Ivar Tidemann, at Nemko Group.

Energy labels must be removed from or covered on devices that have already been manufactured. The labels must not be visible or referred to in marketing materials. New products of vacuum cleaners shall not be labelled and suppliers shall not add their products into the new European database EPREL. Data for vacuum cleaners already added into EPREL will be deleted.

The annulment followed a three-year legal dispute initiated by Dyson, a European manufacturer of vacuum cleaners. Dyson argued that the testing that was done according to regulation – with empty dust bags – failed to represent normal use.

After EUJ’s ruling on 8 November 2018, the EU had two months to file an appeal, but have not done so. This led to a formal withdrawal of Regulation 665/2013 in January.

The eco-design regulation 666/2013 is still in effect. This regulation sets minimum energy efficiency limits, such as maximum 900 watts input power, and the maximum noise limit of 80 dB(A) for vacuum cleaners.

“A review study to update both the eco-design regulation and the energy labelling has started in the EU,” says Tidemann. “But we must expect it to take some time before regulations are adopted,” he says. Before that takes place, there are no valid energy labels for vacuum cleaners in the EU.

What does the annulment mean for consumers? Quite simply, before new regulations are in place, they will not be able to use energy labelling for vacuum cleaners as guidance for purchase.