Sweltering temperatures have pushed up the need for consumers to go online either to buy or research for energy-efficient air-conditioners (ACs) and ceiling fans. However, a study reveals that there is no consistency in listing of star-labels by e-commerce platforms.

Recently, Prayas (Energy Group) conducted a market survey covering 224 listings of ACs and 153 listings of ceiling fans on two major e-commerce platforms. It discovered issues related to displaying information on star labels.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) mandates ACs and fans to carry a star label, rating them from 1-star to 5-star, with 5-star being the most energy efficient — which means the models can drastically reduce electricity bills and provide relief to the over-stressed electricity distribution system.

BEE has specific formats for the labels and instructions for display on packaging and products.

As per BEE data, there are 1,258 models of 1.5-tonne split ACs and 2,668 models of 1,200-mm sweep size ceiling fans. About 50 per cent of the AC models are 3-star and 21 per cent are 5-star models. For ceiling fans, about 60 per cent are 1-star models, while 28 per cent are 5-star models.

For the market survey, Prayas selected those models which were available in stock on e-commerce platforms and had more than 100 consumer ratings.

The study found that there were no specific provisions for e-commerce platforms, thereby leading to inconsistent and incomplete information to consumers.

Right information

Aditya Chunekar, a Fellow at Prayas and co-author of the study, pointed out that many people use e-commerce platforms to either buy cooling appliances online or do research before buying it offline.

“About 36 per cent of AC listings displayed a star-label which was outdated and valid only up to July 2022. Most of these models displayed a rating which was one star level higher than applicable as per the revised standard. This can mislead the consumers into buying a 4-star model while thinking it is a 5-star model,” he added.

Co-author Abhiram Sahasrabudhe, a Senior Research Associate at Prayas (Energy Group), said for ceiling fans, most listings did not display the star-label, a mandatory BEE requirement.

“Also, there was no consistency in the display of star-labels and related information in listings of both ACs and ceiling fans. A correct, consistent and prominent display of information related to star labels is critical to guide consumers into buying energy-efficient models,” he added.

Chunekar pointed out that price analysis of these models shows that although the median price of 5-star models of ceiling fans and ACs is more than that of 3-star models, there are quite a few 5-star models comparable to the median price of a 3-star model.

“Our statistical analysis shows that efficiency explains only a small portion of the price variation among different models. There is a possibility that companies combine other features with efficiency improvements and brand their 5-star models as premium models and price them higher. An energy-efficient model without premium features may add substantial value to the consumers,” he emphasised.


“Information currently displayed on such portals needs to be corrected as the majority of consumers use the Internet to research and buy appliances. BEE can issue an advisory to e-commerce platforms requiring them to comply with display requirements under the S&L programme,” the study recommended.

The report also said BEE could provide specific instructions to ensure that the information is prominently and consistently displayed.