U.S. Department of Energy to Strengthen Efficiency Standards

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced three new steps to strengthen its ability to enforce energy efficiency standards. DOE has formed a new enforcement team within the Office of the General Counsel; established a program to randomly review manufacturers’ compliance with DOE certification requirements; and is publishing guidance that provides further details about DOE’s energy efficiency enforcement regulations.

In its new guidance, DOE confirms that under existing regulations, it can take enforcement action and assess civil penalties if a manufacturer fails to properly certify a covered product and retain records. Specifically, the agency clarifies that any failure to certify covered products according to DOE’s rules violates the Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975 and DOE regulations. DOE will randomly select previously filed certification reports for review, request certification records as needed, and hold manufacturers accountable for failing to certify covered products according to DOE rules.

DOE said these new steps are part of its effort to save energy for U.S. residents and businesses by clearing the backlog of energy efficiency standards for appliances and aggressively enforcing those standards. This past summer, DOE initiated investigations of alleged violations against both an air conditioner manufacturer and a freezer manufacturer. Both investigations are expected to be concluded shortly.

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