No-one can predict which way the F-Gas proposals are going to go, but whatever the changes are, they are going to cost somebody dearly.
Everyone in the cooling industry is currently worried about the proposed changes to F-Gas. It is not surprising, since rarely has a piece of legislation threatened to hit the supply chain (and their pockets) in so many different ways.
Refrigerant suppliers face the prospect of shutting down production of certain HFCs far quicker than they had planned; equipment manufacturers look set to have to hasten their testing and new product development regimes to meet the phase-down timescales; contractors will have to increase the amount of training and familiarisation for natural refrigerants; and end-users will have to pick up the tab for the ‘producer tax’, which Brussels wants to add to every tonne of HFCs.
And that is without national governments seizing the moment to increase their dwindling revenues with some environmental taxation of their own.
Spain has started the charge with a refrigerant tax proposal which could raise the price of HFCs tenfold.
Others could easily follow suit.
So it is surely vital that the supply chain start putting the word about to ensure that these increased costs are passed down to the customer.
Because unfortunately the industry has historically not been that great at getting its customers to pay what they should for goods and services, when prices go up. Indeed there will be some contractors with fixed price contracts in place who are busy consulting their lawyers at the moment.
The forecourt industry and the gas providers are just two examples of sectors who seem to have little problem passing on increases when their supply price goes up, so perhaps we can learn a lesson from them.
But the sooner every end user knows that things are going to get more expensive, the better.