Letter of Authority
Appliance Standards and Labelling regulations have been put in place that promote energy efficient appliances. In terms of these regulations, manufacturers and importers must have a Letter of Authority (LOA) issued by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) before an appliance can be sold in South Africa. The LOA verifies that the particular appliance conforms to the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) specified for that particular category of appliance. LOAs are valid for a period of 3 years.
The steps below should be followed by a manufacturer or importer wishing to secure an LOA. The NRCS has developed LOA Administration Process report which provide additional details on the application process.
Step One: Obtain Proof of Conformity for the Product
Manufacturers and importers shall apply to the NRCS for a Letter of Authority (LOA). The NRCS only accepts a test report from an accredited test facility which belongs to the IEC CB Scheme and/or ILAC.
The NRCS requires for the test report to be in the IEC format. The NRCS will accept EN and other standards issued by different standardisation bodies, if it is proven, in the form of a declaration report from an accredited conformity assessment body (laboratory), to be technically equivalent to the relevant South African National Standards. The applicant shall be responsible for obtaining such a declaration report. Note: declaration from the manufacturer will not be accepted by the NRCS.
In the case where an importer or manufacturer wants to change or incorporate a brand name/trademark or model number to an existing test report they need to make the changes through an accredited laboratory by requesting a declaration report to incorporate the changes and make reference to the original test report. Note: declaration from the manufacturer will not be accepted by the NRCS.
The test and declaration reports must be from a laboratory accredited by a national accreditation body affiliated to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and/or be an IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components (IECEE) CB Scheme member.
The test report should:
- Be evaluated against the latest version of the SANS standard
- Be in English
- Be in IEC Format
- Include the following photographs of the product:
- Rating label/markings
- EE Label
- Front view
- Rear view
- Internal view
- Power supply cord and plug (including markings thereof)
- Contain all South African national differences, for example, the plug fitted must comply with the compulsory standard for South African plugs.
- For new applications, the test report must NOT be older than three years.
- For renewal application the test report must NOT be older than five years. Conformity of Production indicating that product design has not changed may be required for renewal-application.
Step Two: Register with the Electrotechnical Division of NRCS (If not already registered)
Before an LOA can be issued to an entity, that entity must be registered with the Electrotechnical Division of NRCS. Non-South African entities must apply for registration through a South African agent. The application form is available as an Annex to Letter of Authority (LOA) Administration Procedure Manual that the NRCS will email you on request.
Step Three: Register on the NRCS Client Portal (If not already registered)
All applications for an LOA must be submitted via the NRCS Client Portal. Any entity wishing to apply for a LOA must therefore register with NRCS Client Portal. The NRCS has developed a client portal manual to assist entities with the registration process.
Step Four: Complete the LOA Application Form
An LOA Application Form must be completed for each product. A number of common errors are made by applicants in this process that result in a delay in the process of issuing an LOA. These common errors are:
- Details on the application form do not match details on the test report. The details on the test report must exactly match the details on the LOA Application so that NRCS can verify that the product has been tested and conforms to the appropriate standards.
- The full test report is not submitted with the LOA: a full test report is required by the NRCS in order to review if the product conforms to the appropriate standards.
- The test report must include photographs of the product.
- The test report must be from an accredited facility. If the issuing facility is not accredited the NRCS will not be able to process the LOA application.
- The test report has been completed against the correct and most up to date standard. If the test report has been completed against an outdated standard, it cannot be accepted by the NRCS.
- The test report must be less than 36 months for new application and less than 60 months for a renewal application.
- The product must have a South African compatible plug. Products without plugs that conform to South African standards cannot be approved.
Step Five: Submit the LOA Application Form
Once the LOA application form is complete it must be submitted along with the appropriate full test report, any declaration reports if necessary, and a non-refundable LOA application fee via the NRCS Client Portal.