The Nigerian government is taking steps to enforce Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) through the implementation of verification testing at the port of entry and integrating Product Registration Systems (PRS) into the conformity assessment framework, to discourage the use of energy-inefficient air conditioners, refrigerators, which take up about 40 percent of total households’ electricity consumption.
The Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) made this known in a document tagged “Advancing Air Conditioners’ Energy Efficiency Regulations, Compliance, and Enforcement, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme – United for Efficiency (UNEP-UE) and Clean Cooling Collaborative, seen by EnergyDay at the weekend.
According to the Energy Commission, the uptake of cooling equipment is expected to increase with population and economic growth, amidst the insufficient energy generated in Nigeria and the need to meet the climate targets stated in the country’s National Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to the UNFCCC.
Brian Holuj, United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) Programme Management Officer, in a recent statement, revealed that over one million air conditioners were sold annually in Nigeria, adding that this was eating deep into the finances of Nigerians concerning energy bills.
The UNEP has also revealed that Nigeria will save about $1.3 billion yearly if it stops using air conditioners and refrigerators with energy efficiency ratios below globally acceptable Minimum Energy Performance Standards.
EnergyDay further gathered that the National Cooling Action Plan measures aim to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for air conditioners as well as controlling the influx of substandard products in the Nigerian market.
ECN is therefore seeking through its policy document the implementation of key recommendations from the National Cooling Action Plan under the Project “Scaling Up Sustainable Cooling in Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution”.
ECN noted that if Nigeria’s National Cooling Action Plan is unaddressed the demand for energy-inefficient appliances will further result in the overloading of the electricity network and amounting to high running costs for electricity consumers in Nigeria.
The ECN’s document is therefore proposing the strengthening of air conditioner MEPS implementation and enforcement, integration of energy efficiency into government procurement processes; introduction of financial schemes to improve Nigerians’ access to affordable and sustainable cooling appliances and building of the capacity of relevant state and non-state stakeholders.
The Commission in a recent study using energy logger devices to monitor households’ electricity consumption revealed that average refrigerators and air conditioners consume about 40% of total households’ electricity consumption.
The UNEP-U4E Report (2017) showed that refrigerating equipment accounted for approximately 10% of global electricity consumption in households.
EnergyDay gathered that the Nigerian Cooling Action Plan (N-CAP) is one of the major steps by the Government to reduce GHG and ODS emissions in the RAC sector through the enforcement of energy efficiency policies and regulations and the phasedown of global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and foam blowing agents.
The N-CAP proposed financial schemes aimed at increasing access to affordable and sustainable cooling appliances in Nigeria.
It recommended the review of the current minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for air conditioning appliances to more stringent levels.
The Energy Commission has therefore suggested engaging relevant stakeholders and following predetermined national procedures and processes to institutionalize the recommendations provided in the N-CAP document.
The Commission emphasized the importance of these procedures and processes in nationalizing the recommendations and ensuring that Nigeria does not become a dumping ground for substandard products.
The Energy Commission further stated that by upholding expected standards in the nation’s energy industry, all stakeholders and government agencies can work together to achieve the desired objectives.
Mr. Olubunmi Martins, a prominent energy expert, in a chat with EnergyDay, stated that Nigerians will continue to demand air conditioners, refrigerators, and other cooling devices due to changing lifestyle, urbanisation, and rising global warming, emphasizing the need for Nigeria to bolster its compliance standards in the energy sector.
He highlighted the importance of enforcing minimum standards, as documented by N-CAP, and urged the Nigerian Government to ensure that relevant agencies, such as customs, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, and others, fulfill their regulatory duties effectively.
Martins stressed that all stakeholders and government bodies must prevent Nigeria from becoming a dumping ground for substandard products.
The energy expert therefore warned against the influx of products that do not meet the country’s quality standards, emphasizing the necessity of upholding expected standards in the nation’s energy industry.