Appliance Standards and Labelling regulations have been put in place to assist consumers to purchase energy efficient appliances and to promote appliance efficiency.  The Appliance Standards and Labelling regulations have two components.  Firstly, the regulations require that appliances carry a South African Energy Efficiency Label so consumers are informed of the likely energy consumption of an appliance before they purchase it. Secondly, the regulations protect consumers from purchasing appliances that do not meet the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

Benefits for Retailers

The Appliance Standards and Labelling regulations benefit retailers by:

  • Helping retailers to provide a better service to customers: retailers can now help customers estimate running costs of similar sized appliances and in doing so, provide the ‘real cost’ of an appliance to their customers who can now make a more informed purchase choice.
  • Protecting retailers from selling inefficient appliances: retailers are now protected from selling their customers inefficient appliances that are costly to run and could result in after sales complaints.
  • Helping retailers to play a role in protecting the planet: retailers can now play a role in reducing electricity consumption in South Africa therefore reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and helping to reduce the impact of climate change.

Obligations of Retailers

In terms of the regulations, retailers have two obligations:

  • Retailers must ensure that all appliances sold in-store or online carry a South African Energy Efficiency Label.The label should be supplied by the manufacturer or distributor of the appliance and it must clearly show the energy performance class of the appliance, as well as additional energy performance information about the appliance.
  • Retailers must not sell appliances that do not meet the specified Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

South African Energy Efficiency Label

A number of appliances sold in the South Africa must be labelled with a South African Energy Efficiency Label. The label indicates how much electricity the appliance is expected to use and how the efficiency of the appliance is rated in relation to other appliances in the same category.  A detailed guide to energy efficiency labelling has been developed to assist retailers and manufacturers to understand labelling requirements.

An example of a label for a washing machine is shown below. Labels for various categories of appliances differ depending on the functioning of the appliance, however, all labels include seven energy efficiency classes, and the energy efficiency class of the particular appliance is labelled clearly.

Appliances which require the label

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Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS)

South Africa has put in place regulations that require appliances to meet Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). These regulations have been put in place to protect consumers from purchasing appliances that use a wasteful amount of electricity. It is therefore illegal to sell appliances that do not meet these MEPS. For example, all air conditioners must have a rating of Class B or better.

The following MEPS have been specified:

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Retailers are encouraged to ensure that their shop floor staff understand the SA Energy Efficiency Label. Resources to assist retailers training their staff are available on the retailer-training webpage.

Clarification Note 6 November 2018

Do wine coolers/beverage coolers require a label? If so, under what category would they fall (e.g. fridges)?

Yes, they are regulated in accordance to the standard on refrigerators.

Do commercial products require labels? For example: commercial fridges and washing machines.

Not currently, however the NRCS will apply very narrow leeway in classifying a refrigerator as commercial – it must be clearly evident that it is not for residential use. The Department of Energy is evaluating the benefits of introducing Minimum Energy Performance Standards for the commercial products.

You’ve already provided clarity regarding washing machines, but we’d like to confirm the requirements for twin-tub and top loader washing machines.

Due to technical error in the National Standard for top loader washing machines, the Regulator has temporarily excluded these from the programme. However, it is envisaged that this will be resolved at the next Technical Committee meeting and they will be reinstated. A communication will be sent out by the Regulator and the status will be updated on the website. Please track and act on notifications.

What are the expectations regarding hot water cylinders? Are there any exclusions/additional specifications that we as the retailer need to be aware of?

No. All standard electric water heaters (as per VC 9006) must comply with SANS 151. The only exceptions are for products which have a valid sales permit issued by the NRCS. If there is any doubt about the authenticity or applicability of the sales permit kindly contact Ms Patsy Andrews

Is the definition of “tumble dryer” inclusive of heat pump and condenser dryers?


Clarify the delineation between small/medium and large ovens.

As per VC 9008
Small >12 litres and <35 litres
Medium >35 litres and <65 litres

Are labels required on both the indoor and outdoor components of split air-conditioning units?

Yes, all electrical products under the S&L programme on the display floor are required to have a label affixed to them. This includes split AC units it is required that a label is affixed to the indoor and outdoor units displayed on the shop floor.

Can one label be printed for multiple models which have the same performance characteristics?


Are there any additional exclusions, products under review or additional requirements which the regulator has specified and which need to be communicated to ourselves?

None at this time. Please monitor the official website for news and updates

Click here to download the Clarification Note as a PDF

FAQs: Have more questions? See a list of FAQs about Appliance Standards and Labelling