Power-guzzling electrical appliances used throughout homes in Western Australia would be subject to energy conserving regulations within three years, according to Mines Minister George Cash.
Commenting through his role as chairman of the Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council (ANZMEC), Mr Cash said Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for refrigerators, freezers and electric storage water heaters were positive initiatives in battling the global `greenhouse' effect.
"Major electrical appliances in the household are unnecessarily energy-inefficient and could be improved at little or no cost before the products are sold," Mr Cash said.
"The proposed MEPS regulations have the potential to slash appliance energy consumption significantly, which in turn will limit greenhouse gas emissions."
Mr Cash was speaking on the national introduction of MEPS during a two-day tour by ANZMEC Ministers of mining and energy facilities in the State's North-West, which included the Argyle diamond mine, Woodside's North West Shelf project and Hamersley Iron's port facilities in Karratha.
The Minister said ANZMEC meetings were attended by the Mining and Energy Ministers from around Australia and New Zealand.
He said the global environment was not the only winner with the introduction of MEPS, with an estimated national saving of $36 million a year on power costs for refrigerators and freezers.
"The new energy standards are of obvious benefits to consumers, with ongoing running costs of these appliances reduced," Mr Cash said.
The Minister said the council had agreed to the introduction of mandatory MEPS for refrigerators, freezers and electric storage water heaters throughout Australia and New Zealand by 1998.
"The decision was subject to extensive consultation with associated industry groups to assess whether the benefits of eliminating the market's worst performers were sufficient to justify the cost implications for adopting the new standards," Mr Cash said.
"Following a cost-benefit analysis, the industry has now supported the move to adopt these new energy performance standards and a State, Commonwealth and industry working party is overseeing the changes."
The Minister said the introduction of MEPS would not create an additional layer of regulations.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595