Producers hope for scrapping of electrical equipment

Producers hope for scrapping of electrical equipment

Old cow cabinets or freezers are among the biggest power guzzlers in germany’s pie. A premium for old appliances already existed in austria and other countries.

Since the success of the scrappage scheme for old cars, there has also been repeated discussion in germany about a purchase incentive for new electrical appliances that would reduce household electricity consumption. There are 30 million household appliances in germany that are more than 14 years old, harald friedrich, the managing director of robert bosch hausgerate, told the newspapers of the essen-based WAZ group (wednesday). "It would certainly be a chance, if the policy would decide to a scrapping pramie for old house appliances."

Federal environment minister peter altmaier (CDU), however, does not want to create any new subsidies, his spokeswoman replied. The house of economics minister philipp rosler (FDP) also echoed the concerns of the electrical industry.

Consumer users, on the other hand, consider the scrappage scheme to be sensible. In austria and other countries, a "separation premium" of up to 100 euros for the purchase of a new appliance has significantly reduced the proportion of old appliances, said frauke rogalla, energy advisor to the verbraucherzentrale bundesverband (vzbv) (federal consumer association). There were also projects of this kind in denmark and the netherlands several years ago. "The programs must be temporary so that they have an effect and manufacturers do not use the programs to permanently raise their prices"."

For the manufacturers, the bonus was probably a boost to sales, at least in the short term: in austria, they increased sales of refrigerators by twelve percent during the first two months of the scrappage scheme at the end of 2009, according to figures from the gesellschaft fur konsumforschung (gfk) (society for consumer research).

For consumers, however, switching to an energy-efficient appliance only pays off years later. According to bosch manager friedrich, a 15-year-old refrigerator-freezer combination consumes an average of 600 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, while a modern appliance uses about 150 kilowatt hours. "So consumers can easily save more than 100 euros a year on their electricity bills."If the purchase of the equipment costs 850 euros, it will have paid for itself completely within eight to nine years. "With scrapping pramie the time could be shortened additionally."Consumer protection officer rogalla considers these figures realistic.

The bund fur umwelt und naturschutz deutschland (BUND), the left-wing and the greens had also spoken out in favor of scrapping premiums for household appliances. From rogalla’s point of view, however, the practical implementation is difficult. "It is important that old equipment is demonstrably disposed of and not used to cool drinks in the party cellar."


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