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UK to introduce smart appliance regulation and revised industry standards

Issues such as privacy, cyber security and consumer protection will serve as basis for new legislation planned by government to encourage uptake of ‘smart’ HVAC appliances

Manufacturers of smart appliances that provide cooling, air conditioning or heating functions will be asked to develop new technical standards to support greater adoption of these technologies across the UK.

Calls for revised standards focused on data issues, consumer protections and interoperability between different brands of appliance have been unveiled alongside a government pledge to introduce regulation on how smart appliances are classified and used.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said proposals were now being prepared to introduce either new primary or secondary legislation, depending on parliamentary time and the outcome of Brexit negotiations, in response to a consultation launched earlier this year.

Principles of interoperability, data privacy, grid-stability and cyber-security are intended to serve as the core basis for any new regulations introduced on the back of this consultation, BEIS has said. A consumer protection principle that would consider a wider range of risks would also be introduced.

Government said it was open to following international approaches to regulation, such as models currently being considered by the European Commission under the Ecodesign Directive and its regulations on energy labelling, when “in the UK’s interests”.

BEIS added, “The UK’s relationship with EU regulation, including in this area, is a matter for ongoing negotiations and these proposals are without prejudice to the UK’s future relationship with the EU, after the UK has left in March 2019.”

Any proposed regulatory requirements will initially apply to cold appliances, air conditioning, ventilation, heating and battery storage technologies, with room for a potential extension of this scope in line with any changes to national electricity consumption.

BEIS said, “Our intention is to apply regulatory requirements uniformly across all relevant appliances, though, where necessary, they will cater to individual appliances.”

A new labelling scheme that could potentially set out specific components of smart functionality, or that determines whether an appliance meets a specific binary requirement to be classed as a ‘smart’ device, is also being considered by government alongside the planned legislation.

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