BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Air conditioners that do not meet new energy efficiency standards cannot be imported into Brunei from June 14 next year, the Ministry of Energy announced in a press conference on Tuesday.

Air conditioners will be the first electrical appliance addressed under the Energy Efficiency (Standards and Labelling) Order 2021, as part of the government’s efforts to reduce electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Air conditioners accounted for 60 percent of total energy consumption in Bruneian households, according to the Brunei Darussalam Energy Consumption Survey published in 2015.

The new laws aim to promote the use of more energy-efficient appliances, as well as ensure products sold in the country meet the minimum energy performance standards (MEPS).

Importers must ensure that air conditioners have a MEPS of 2.9 coefficient of performance (COP) with a capacity below 7.1 kW. The energy consumption survey indicated that the MEPS for air conditioners in Brunei stands below 2.6 COP.

Starting on June 14, 2021, a one-year grace period will be granted for electrical retailers and distributors to clear any stock that fails to meet the new energy requirements.

During the grace period, the ministry will hold roadshows with suppliers and conduct training programmes for law enforcement.

The new legislation will only apply to air conditioners in the initial stage of enforcement. The energy rating of other electrical appliances will also be regulated in order of priority, from refrigerators to lighting and water heaters.

Pg Hj Jamra Weira Pg Hj Petra, the deputy permanent secretary of energy, said the ministry will work with enforcement agencies to ensure all electrical appliances imported into Brunei comply with the new energy efficiency standards.

There will be scheduled and random inspections at all border control posts and business premises to ensure proper enforcement, he added.

The standards, which take into account ASEAN benchmarks, are expected to help Brunei reduce energy intensity by 45 percent from 2005 levels over the next 15 years.

Asked whether there will be any financial incentives to encourage importers to bring in more energy-efficient appliances, the assistant director of the Sustainable Energy Division said they will discuss the matter with the finance ministry.

“Apart from financial incentives, the prices are also market-driven. If demand for energy-efficient appliances increases, the price of these appliances will also decrease over time,” Abdul Salam Hj Abdul Wahab told reporters. 

Director of Legal and Compliance Division, Mohammad Nizam Hj Ismi, said subsidiary legislation will be introduced in the future, setting rules related to MEPS and other electrical appliances.