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Rule Concerning Disclosures Regarding Energy Consumption and Water Use of Certain Home Appliances and Other Products Required Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (“Appliance Labeling Rule”)

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Trade Commission (Commission) announces that the current ranges of comparability required by the Appliance Labeling Rule (Rule) for room air conditioners, heat pump water heaters, storage-type water heaters, gas-fired instantaneous water heaters, furnaces, boilers, and pool heaters will remain in effect until further notice.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

October 31, 2001.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Hampton Newsome, Attorney, Division of Enforcement, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580 (202-326-2889);hnewsome@ftc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Rule was issued by the Commission in 1979, 44 FR 66466 (Nov. 19, 1979), in response to a directive in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.[1] The Rule covers eight categories of major household appliances: refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers, water heaters (this category includes storage-type water heaters, gas-fired instantaneous water heaters, and heat pump water heaters), room air conditioners, furnaces (this category includes boilers), and central air conditioners (this category includes heat pumps). The Rule also covers pool heaters, 59 FR 49556 (Sept. 28, 1994), and contains requirements that pertain to fluorescent lamp ballasts, 54 FR 28031 (July 5, 1989), certain plumbing products, 58 FR 54955 (Oct. 25, 1993), and certain lighting products, 59 FR 25176 (May 13, 1994, eff. May 15, 1995).

The Rule requires manufacturers of all covered appliances and pool heaters to disclose specific energy consumption or efficiency (derived from the DOE test procedures) at the point of sale in the form of an “Energy Guide” label and in catalogs. It also requires manufacturers of furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps either to provide fact sheets showing additional cost information, or to be listed in industry directory showing the cost information for their products. The Rule requires manufacturers to include, on labels and fact sheets, an energy consumption or efficiency figure and a “range of comparability.” This range shows the highest and lowest energy consumption or efficiencies for all comparable appliance models so consumers can compare the energy consumption or efficiency of other models (perhaps competing brands) similar to the label model. The Rule also requires manufacturers to include, on labels for some products, a secondary energy usage disclosure in the form of an estimated annual operating cost based on a specified DOE national average cost for fuel the applicance uses.

Section 305.8(b) of the Rule requires manufactures, after filing an initial report, to report certain information annually to the Commission by specified dates for each product type.[2] These reports, which are to assist the Commission in preparing the ranges of comparability, contain the estimated annual energy consumption or energy efficiency ratings for the appliances derived from tests performed pursuant to the DOE test procedures. Because manufacturers regularly add new models to their lines, improve existing models, and drop others, the data base from which the range of comparability are calculated is constantly changing. To keep the required information consistent with these changes, under Section 305.10 of the Rule, the Commission will publish new ranges if an analysis of the new information indicates that the upper or lower limits of the ranges have changed by more than 15%. Otherwise, the Commission will publish a statement that the prior ranges remain in effect for the next year.

Manufacturers have submitted data for room air conditioners, water heaters (including storage-type, gas-fired instantaneous, and heat pump water heaters), furnaces, boilers, and pool heaters. The ranges of comparability for room air conditioners, heat pump water heaters, storage-type water heaters, gas-fired instantaneous water heaters, furnaces, boilers, and pool heaters have not changed by more than 15% from the current ranges for these products. Therefore, the current ranges for these products will remain in effect until further notice.

This means that manufacturers of storage-type water heaters, furnaces, and boilers must continue to use the ranges that were published on September 23, 1994 (59 FR 48796). These manufacturers must continue to base the disclosures of estimated annual operating cost required at the bottom of EnergyGuides for these products on the 1994 Representative Average Unit Costs of Energy for electricity (8.41 cents per kilo Watt-hour), natural gas (60.4 cents per therm), propane (98 cents per gallon), and/or heating oil ($1.05 per gallon) that were published by DOE on December 29, 1993 (58 FR 68901), and Start Printed Page 40111by the Commission on February 8, 1994 (59 FR 5699).

Manufacturers of heat pump water heaters must continue to use the ranges that were published on September 1, 2000 (65 FR 53163). Manufacturers of heat pump water heaters must continue to base the disclosures of estimated annual operating cost required at the bottom of EnergyGuides for these products on the 2000 Representative Average Unit Costs of Energy for electricity (8.03 cents per kiloWatt-hour) that were published by DOE on March 8, 2001 (66 FR 27856), and by the Commission on May 21, 2001 (66 FR 27856).

Manufacturers of gas-fired instantaneous water heaters must continue to use the ranges of comparability that were published on December 20, 1999 (64 FR 71019). They must continue to base the disclosures of estimated annual operating cost required at the bottom of EnergyGuides for these products on the 1999 Representative Average Unit Cost of Energy for natural gas (68.8 cents per therm) and propane (77 cents per gallon) that were published by DOE on January 5, 1999 (64 FR 487) and by the Commission on February 17, 1999 (64 FR 7783).

Manufacturers of pool heaters must continue to use the ranges that were published on August 21, 1995 (60 FR 43367). Manufacturers of room air conditioners must continue to use the corrected ranges for room air conditioners that were published on November 13, 1995 (60 FR 56945, at 56949). Manufacturers of pool heaters and room air conditioners must continue to base the disclosures of estimated annual operating cost required at the bottom of EnergyGuides for these products on the 1995 Representative Average Unit Costs of Energy for electricity (8.67 cents per kiloWatt-hour), natural gas (63 cents per therm), propane (98.5 cents per gallon), and/or heating oil ($1.008 per gallon) that were published by DOE on January 5, 1995 (60 FR 1773), and by the Commission on February 17, 1995 (60 FR 9295).

For up-to-date tables showing current range and cost information for all covered appliances, see the Commission's Appliance Labeling Rule web page at www.ftc.gov/​appliances.

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List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 305

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The authority citation for Part 305 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6294.

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By direction of the Commission.

Donald S. Clark,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  42 U.S.C. 6294. The status also requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop test procedures that measure how much energy the appliances use, and to determine the representative average cost a consumer pays for the different types of energy available.

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2.  Reports from room air conditioners, heat pump water heaters, storage-type water heaters, gas-fired instantaneous water heaters, furnaces, boilers, and pool heaters are due May 1.

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[FR Doc. 01-19339 Filed 8-1-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-M