We Indians consider ourselves to be smart buyers and we are. Before we make a decision to buy any product we must have already gone through innumerable articles describing the pros and cons of the product, look at the advantages its nearest competitors offer. We also ask for reviews from our friends and neighbours. Value for money would figure quite high in our list. Therefore we would look at everything from cost, durability, design, size and much more. But there is one thing that we don’t usually consider in this list and for a cost conscious and value for money oriented buyer this one should definitely be part of his/her criteria. In fact according to different studies on consumer buying behaviour, a consumer’s decision to buy a product is based more on the MRP of the product and less on the future cost of using the product on a regular basis(like electricity for electronic appliances). But research also shows another interesting fact. When told about future financial implications with respect to using the product the customers buying behaviour becomes more rational. So in order to provide this information the Indian government has introduced energy efficiency labelling program.

What I am talking about is the BEE Star rating. BEE which stands for Bureau of Energy Efficiency is a statutory body coming under the Ministry of Power, was set by our government in 2002. One of the key functions of BEE is to develop energy rating standards for equipments as well as appliances. To do this they have created a star rating system starting from one star to five star which denotes the least to most energy efficient appliances. This rating system helps standardise the energy consumption of various energy appliances under test conditions. Initially participation in this rating system was voluntary for the equipment manufacturers. But since 2006 manufacturers are supposed to have a mandatory labelling showing the BEE star rating for certain products. These ratings helps buyers make more informed decisions especially regarding how much of excess electricity bill they will have to pay in the long run. The BEE labels which have been designed after thorough research contains a great deal of information. There is information about the product and brand as well as the year of rating. Make sure to look at the year of rating since the star ratings are bound to change as the appliance efficiency standards improve. So a 5 star rating in 2007 might be equivalent to a 3 star rating by 2014 for a particular device. Followed by these are the technical specifications about the product. But the most important information which is provided is the Star rating which denotes the energy efficiency of the appliance. Currently the BEE Ratings are present in lighting equipments, Frost free refrigerator, air conditioners, Submersible and mono pump sets, ceiling fan, domestic stoves, water heater, television and washing machine. While frost free refrigerators, TFLs and ACs come under mandatory labelling the rest come under voluntary labelling.
So from the next time onwards, whenever you visit an electronic showroom always remember to take a look at the BEE ratings before finalizing on your product. That one decision can help save some of yourincomeon future eletricity bills.

Written by Bajith Sasidharan

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