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Star-rated appliances worth Rs 2,200 crore sold despite failing tests: CAG

Among these failed models, manufacturers had already marketed 3.93 lakh ACs and 1.48 lakh refrigerators, cumulatively worth about Rs 1,464 crore till December 2015.

Star-rated appliances worth Rs 2,200 crore sold despite failing tests: CAG
CAG also found out that label verification was not carried out by BEE to ensure whether fake star labels were used on products

The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) latest report said that Rs 2,200 crore worth of air conditioners (ACs) and refrigerators with the government’s ‘star rating’ labels were sold in the market between 2014 and 2018, though these products had failed the check tests for energy efficiency.

In a report tabled in the parliament on Tuesday, CAG noted that though the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) — the government agency which provides star rating label on appliances such as televisions, ACs and refrigerators as an indicator of energy efficiency standards — planned to check test 1.72% of approved models and actually tested only 0.16% during FY13-18.

Out of 51 models evaluated in FY13-18, 32 models failed in the first check testing. Interestingly, out of 25 models which failed in the first check testing during FY14, only eight models were taken up for second check testing and out of that, seven models failed again.

Among these failed models, manufacturers had already marketed 3.93 lakh ACs and 1.48 lakh refrigerators, cumulatively worth about Rs 1,464 crore till December 2015.

Similarly, seven models had failed in first check test in FY18 and had not undergone second check test till January, 2019. In this period, 2.46 lakh fridges and 23,752 ACs with faulty star rating—with a total value of Rs 744 crore — had already been sold.

BEE approves star ratings to appliance models after manufacturers submit energy efficiency performance reports from labs registered under the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

BEE is supposed to conduct ‘check testing’ of approved models to verify the actual energy efficiency levels of the products. The CAG noted that though BEE is supposed to test at least one sample of registered models every year, it had checked only 12 out of 16,557 models registered during April 2015 to March 2018.

CAG also found out that label verification was not carried out by BEE to ensure whether fake star labels were used on products. The auditor stated that consumers pay high price for the Star label of BEE, and “if the models do not comply with the standard energy consumption levels prescribed by BEE, it would be a loss to the consumers”.

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