Millions of inefficient air-cons are being sold in Southeast Asia. But governments can put a stop to it – and help consumers save money in the longer term.

Channel News Asia-Air-conditioner technician Riki has been on a hot streak lately.

In his eight years on the job, the 25-year-old has typically received about five orders a day to install or repair air-cons.

But in the last two months, business has shot up and Riki now services up to 12 customers a day.

The reason: A prolonged dry season that has seen temperatures hit nearly 40 degrees Celsius in some places such as South Tangerang in the Greater Jakarta metropolitan area.

Riki, who goes by one name, now earns about 300,000 rupiah (US$19) a day, double his previous income. “Thank God there’s a lot of work. I’m happy,” he said.

Air-cons bring cool relief to Indonesians and others in the tropics, especially during hot spells. But most air-cons that Southeast Asians are buying are inefficient energy guzzlers, recent research has found.

They may also be obsolete in the countries that are exporting them, according to a report by non-governmental organisation (NGO) CLASP, which focuses on research and promotion of appliance efficiency and energy access.

Some of the appliances also contain refrigerants with high global warming potential, which contribute to climate change, strain national energy grids, and burden consumers with higher energy bills.

Experts told CNA if the government does not take stringent actions, Indonesia will continue to be a dumping ground for non-efficient air-cons.

The study’s findings show that energy efficiency is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the climate crisis, said Mr Ahmad Ashov Birry, programme director at the Jakarta-based NGO Trend Asia, which focuses on sustainable energy.

“The Indonesian government must not be negligent and must increase supervision and enforce existing regulations regarding MEPS and energy-saving labelling,” he said.

The government should put a stop to dumping, as well as air-con manufacturers’ “double standards”, Mr Ahmad added.

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Photo: CNA/Danang Wisanggeni