31 July 2008 – The South African government is proposing that the current, and future, minister of energy be given wide power to prescribe energy efficiency standards "for economic sectors and for particular appliances, devices and motor vehicles."
A bill tabled in Parliament includes plans for minimum energy efficiency standards for industrial and commercial, and private and residential sectors.
These would eventually include fridges, stoves, washing machines, coffee makers, television sets, microwave ovens, vehicles, and office equipment, said minerals and energy deputy director-general Nhlanhla Gumede.
According to Gumede, this is common practise internationally. Initially, this would require energy efficient labels to be attached to appliance, devices and motor vehicles, and for buildings to meet energy efficiency requirements.
Under the proposal, the minister would be able to prohibit the manufacture, import or sale of devices which do not meet these energy efficiency requirements.
The minister would also have the power to prescribe to Eskom as to how it must comply with these mandates, and would also give the minister wide powers to promote renewable energies.
In addition, the bill provides for two new state organisations to monitor the utilisation of energy and promote its efficient use – the National Modelling and Information Agency (Nemia) and the South African National Energy Development Institute (Nedi).
Nemia would be responsible for collecting data on energy use and "choose new or replacement equipment for each energy service based on cost and performance characteristics and modelled economic behaviour", Gumede said.
Nedi would investigate alternative and future energy sources and co-ordinate energy research.