John Lewis trials lifetime costs on electrical products


John Lewis

If you were warned one washer-dryer would burn more than £1,400 of electricity over nine years than a rival, would you be put off? Very likely. John Lewis is trialling new at-a-glance energy labelling on washing machine and dryers across 19 stores.

If popular, the scheme could be rolled out across the country. So, an end to energy efficiency labelling confusion?

Confusion on costs

If you buy white goods like a washing machine, it will carry an energy efficiency label. Most washing machines are now rated 'A'. But many A-rated machines carry additional '+' signs. As many as three extra - '+++' - signs denote the most super-efficient versions.

Somewhat confusing, admittedly (blame Brussels here). So the logic of a sticker telling you how much thirstier on the juice one machine will be in its lifetime compared with another is clear.

Bear in mind, too, that these estimates will be conservative. Energy costs have risen sharply in recent years, and are likely to continue climbing.

Norwegian success

Why stop at washing machines? Other appliances like kettles and toasters are also heavy energy users. John Lewis admits the idea could be rolled across a range of other appliances.

"This labelling approach has already been trialled in Norway," says John Lewis, "but it is the first time it will be tested in the UK. It is hoped that providing more meaningful information to consumers will raise awareness of energy running costs."

A quick at look at Currys website sees them supply their top 20 most popular washing machines. But there's no way of comparing the machines by energy efficiency - only by price, spin speed or noise levels, and other parameters.

Compare and contrast

There's a big variety in energy performance. Currys will sell you a top-rated 9kg load A+++ rating Hoover machine for £449. Yet a slightly more expensive Bosch (£479) is rated at just 'A'. (However Which? rates Hoover only average for reliability.)

Most of the premium brand machines - £500 plus - from Miele and Siemens come with top A+++ ratings. However we found a £249 7kg load Beko with an A++ rating from Currys.

In a 2012 report Which? gave Beko an 85% reliability rating, higher than AEG (83%), Siemens (80%) and Hoover (66%).

False economies in a recession

False economies in a recession