FTC Proposes Amendments to Improve Usability of the Energy Labeling Rule
The Federal Trade Commission has approved a Federal Register notice seeking comments on proposed non-substantive changes to the Energy Labeling Rule (Rule).
The proposed amendments would organize the Rule’s product descriptions to make it easier for stakeholders to identify relevant covered products, particularly for categories (such as lighting) that contain several different product types and exemptions. Next, the amendments would divide the Rule’s primary labeling provision into several sections to make it easier to identify the labeling requirements for specific products. Finally, the proposed changes would remove obsolete, unneeded references to products last produced and sold decades ago.
The FTC first issued the Rule in 1979, under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. The Rule requires energy labeling for major home appliances and other consumer products to help consumers compare the energy costs of competing models. It also contains labeling requirements for refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, freezers, dishwashers, water heaters, clothes washers, room air conditioners, furnaces, central air conditioners, heat pumps, plumbing products, lighting products, ceiling fans, and televisions.
The Rule requires manufacturers to attach yellow EnergyGuide labels to many of the covered products and prohibits retailers from removing these labels or making them unreadable. It also directs sellers, including retailers, to post label information on websites and in paper catalogs from which consumers can order products.
The proposed amendments have no substantive impact on the Rule’s requirements, but will improve its organization, eliminate obsolete provisions, and generally make it easier to use.
The Commission vote authorizing publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register was 4-1, with Commissioner Christine S. Wilson dissenting and issuing a dissenting statement. Comments must be received by February 19, 2019. Instructions on submitting public comments can be found in the “Supplementary Information” of the notice. Comments also can be filed electronically. (The staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889.)
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