Usually sold with electrical and electronic goods, external power supply units are placed on the market in large quantities. Commission regulation no. 278/2009 sets out new requirements regarding the environmentally-friendly design of external power supply units. >From 27 April 2010 onwards, only devices that meet the power consumption requirements specified in the regulation may be brought into circulation in the EU. The scope of the regulation is restricted, among other things, to external power supply units that have an output of less than 250 W and supply just one output voltage at a time. It also only applies to external power supply units designed for use with electrical and electronic goods used in the household and the office.
The main requirements of the regulation relate to no-load power consumption and average efficiency and will come into effect at two different times. Power supply units connected to the mains power source but not to the device that constitutes the primary load (e.g. telephone) are not allowed to consume more than 0.5 W if sold after 27 April 2010. In April 2011, an upper limit of 0.3 W will be set for AC/DC power supply units with a maximum output of 51 W as well as for external, low-voltage power supply units.