As we see the popularity and use of low carbon, energy efficient and smart technologies increase, there are many factors to consider that can influence consumer safety.
For example, solutions which enable Demand Side Response* could create an inherent risk to safety if appliances decide or are instructed to run when people are asleep or not at home. Electrical safety risks can be minimised by ensuring that products are developed so that risks are balanced with risk mitigation.
Furthermore, whilst it is widely agreed that repairs should be favoured over buying new, it is important that consumers use reputable and competent tradespeople to repair equipment and that electrical safety implications are considered. Product registration and recall response rates are also in need of improvement.
Better protection for online shoppers is also vital since counterfeit, sub-standard and recalled electrical products can currently be bought online, particularly via online marketplaces, where consumers do not have the same legal protections as they would when buying from a high street retailer.
* Demand Side Response (DSR) is where energy users alter their consumption patterns in response to a signal or incentive from the network operator.
- The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) should monitor the number of incidents related to the running of appliances when the home is unoccupied or households are asleep and improve safety standards for smart technologies to minimise risk.
- Manufacturers must ensure that products are as safe as practicable and innovate to ensure that any additional foreseen risks associated with running appliances overnight or when the home is unattended are minimised.
- Consumer awareness campaigns that look at how to mitigate the risk of fires caused by appliances in the home should be run by Government, Fire and Rescue Services and consumer protection organisations.
- OPSS/BEIS should put in place appropriate regulations for online marketplaces so that consumers buying electrical products online have the same protections as they have in a high street shop.
- DEFRA and OPSS should develop a network of qualified and competent repairers via collaboration between low carbon, energy efficient and smart solution product sellers.
Find out More
For more information, download our briefing document and infographic that includes the key facts and figures - please feel free to share this on your own channels.
You can find out more about our campaign for the better regulation of online marketplaces here.