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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Extension

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission (“Commission” or “FTC”).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The information collection requirements described below will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”). The FTC is seeking public comments on its proposal to extend through October 31, 2011, the current PRA clearance for information collection requirements contained in the FTC rule on “Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation” (“R-value Rule” or “Rule”). The current clearance expires on October 31, 2008.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before November 20, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments electronically or in paper form. Comments should refer to “R-value Rule, PRA Comment, FTC File No. P094200” to facilitate the organization of comments. Please note that comments will be placed on the public record of this proceeding—including on the publicly accessible FTC website, at (http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​publiccomments.shtm)—and therefore should not include any sensitive or confidential information. In particular, comments should not include any sensitive personal information, such as an individual’s Social Security Number; date of birth; driver’s license number or other state identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; financial account number; or credit or debit card number. Comments also should not include any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, comments should not include any “[t]rade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential. . . .,” as provided in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and Commission Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). Comments containing material for which confidential treatment is requested must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with FTC Rule 4.9(c).[1]

Because paper mail addressed to the FTC is subject to delay due to heightened security screening, please consider submitting your comments in electronic form. Comments filed in electronic form should be submitted by using the following weblink: (https://secure.commentworks.com/​ftc-rvaluePRA) (and following the instructions on the web-based form). To ensure that the Commission considers an electronic comment, you must file it on the web-based form at the weblink (https://secure.commentworks.com/​ftc-rvaluePRA). If this Notice appears at (http://www.regulations.gov/​search/​index.jsp), you may also file an electronic comment through that website. The Commission will consider all comments that regulations.gov forwards to it. You may also visit the FTC website at http://www.ftc.gov to read the Notice and the news release describing it.

A comment filed in paper form should include the “R-value Rule, PRA Comment, FTC File No. P094200” reference both in the text and on the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex J), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives, whether filed in paper or electronic form. Comments received will be available to the public on the FTC website, to the extent practicable, at (http://www.ftc.gov/​os/​publiccomments.shtm). As a matter of discretion, the Commission makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC website. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC’s privacy policy, at (http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.shtm).

All comments should additionally be submitted to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Trade Commission. Comments should be submitted via facsimile to (202) 395-6974 because U.S. Postal Mail is subject to lengthy delays due to heightened security precautions.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Hampton Newsome, Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, (202) 326-2889, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20580.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” means agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. 44 U.S.C. 3502(3), 5 CFR 1320.3(c). As required by section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for public comment before requesting that OMB extend the existing PRA clearance for the R-value Rule, 16 CFR Part 460 (OMB Control Number 3084-0109).

The R-value Rule establishes uniform standards for the substantiation and disclosure of accurate, material product information about the thermal performance characteristics of home insulation products. The R-value of an insulation signifies the insulation's degree of resistance to the flow of heat. Start Printed Page 62502This information tells consumers how well a product is likely to perform as an insulator and allows consumers to determine whether the cost of the insulation is justified.

Estimated annual hours burden: 117,000 hours, rounded

The Rule's requirements include product testing, recordkeeping, and third-party disclosures on labels, fact sheets, advertisements, and other promotional materials. Based on information provided by members of the insulation industry, staff estimates that the Rule affects: (1) 150 insulation manufacturers and their testing laboratories; (2) 1,615 installers who sell home insulation; (3) 125,000 new home builders/sellers of site-built homes and approximately 5,500 dealers who sell manufactured housing; and (4) 25,000 retail sellers who sell home insulation for installation by consumers.

Under the Rule's testing requirements, manufacturers must test each insulation product for its R-value. Based on past industry input, staff estimates that the test takes approximately 2 hours. Approximately 15 of the 150 insulation manufacturers in existence introduce one new product each year. Their total annual testing burden is therefore approximately 30 hours.

Staff further estimates that most manufacturers require an average of approximately 20 hours per year regarding third-party disclosure requirements in advertising and other promotional materials. Only the five or six largest manufacturers require additional time, approximately 80 hours each. Thus, the annual third-party disclosure burden for manufacturers is approximately 3,360 hours [(144 manufacturers x 20 hours) + (6 manufacturers x 80 hours)].

While the Rule imposes recordkeeping requirements, most manufacturers and their testing laboratories keep their testing-related records in the ordinary course of business. Staff estimates that no more than one additional hour per year per manufacturer is necessary to comply with this requirement, for an annual recordkeeping burden of approximately 150 hours (150 manufacturers x 1 hour).

Installers are required to show the manufacturers' insulation fact sheet to retail consumers before purchase. They must also disclose information in contracts or receipts concerning the R-value and the amount of insulation to install. Staff estimates that two minutes per sales transaction is sufficient to comply with these requirements. Approximately 1,520,000 retrofit insulations (an industry source’s estimate) are installed by approximately 1,615 installers per year, and, thus, the related annual burden total is approximately 50,667 hours (1,520,000 sales transactions x 2 minutes). Staff anticipates that one hour per year per installer is sufficient to cover required disclosures in advertisements and other promotional materials. Thus, the burden for this requirement is approximately 1,615 hours per year. In addition, installers must keep records that indicate the substantiation relied upon for savings claims. The additional time to comply with this requirement is minimal—approximately 5 minutes per year per installer—for a total of approximately 135 hours.

New home sellers must make contract disclosures concerning the type, thickness, and R-value of the insulation they install in each part of a new home. Staff estimates that no more than 30 seconds per sales transaction is required to comply with this requirement, for a total annual burden of approximately 10,833 hours (an estimated 1.3 million new home sales[2] x 30 seconds). New home sellers who make energy savings claims must also keep records regarding the substantiation relied upon for those claims. Because few new home sellers make these claims, and the ones that do would likely keep these records regardless of the R-value Rule, staff believes that the 30 seconds covering disclosures would also encompass this recordkeeping element.

The Rule requires that the approximately 25,000 retailers who sell home insulation make fact sheets available to consumers before purchase. This can be accomplished by, for example, placing copies in a display rack or keeping copies in a binder on a service desk with an appropriate notice. Replenishing or replacing fact sheets should require no more than approximately one hour per year per retailer, for a total of 25,000 annual hours, industry-wide.

The Rule also requires specific disclosures in advertisements or other promotional materials to ensure that the claims are fair and not deceptive. This burden is very minimal because retailers typically use advertising copy provided by the insulation manufacturer, and even when retailers prepare their own advertising copy, the Rule provides some of the language to be used. Accordingly, approximately one hour per year per retailer should suffice to meet this requirement, for a total annual burden of approximately 25,000 hours.

Retailers who make energy savings claims in advertisements or other promotional materials must keep records that indicate the substantiation they are relying upon. Because few retailers make these types of promotional claims and because the Rule permits retailers to rely on the insulation manufacturer's substantiation data for any claims that are made, the additional recordkeeping burden is de minimis. The time calculated for disclosures, above, would be more than adequate to cover any burden imposed by this recordkeeping requirement.

To summarize, staff estimates that the Rule imposes a total of 116,790 burden hours, as follows: 150 recordkeeping and 3,390 testing and disclosure hours for manufacturers; 135 recordkeeping and 52,282 disclosure hours for installers; 10,833 disclosure hours for new home sellers; and 50,000 disclosure hours for retailers. Rounded to the nearest thousand, the total burden is 117,000 burden hours.

Estimated annual cost burden: $2,650,000, rounded to the nearest thousand (solely related to labor costs)

The total annual labor cost for the Rule's information collection requirements is $2,649,720, derived as follows: $690 for testing, based on 30 hours for manufacturers (30 hours x $23 per hour for skilled technical personnel); $3,705 for manufacturers’ and installers’ compliance with the Rule’s recordkeeping requirements, based on 285 hours (285 hours x $13 per hour for clerical personnel); $43,680 for manufacturers' compliance with third-party disclosure requirements, based on 3,360 hours (3,360 hours x $13 per hour for clerical personnel); and $2,601,645 for disclosure compliance by installers, new home sellers, and retailers (113,115 hours x $23 per hour for sales persons).

There are no significant current capital or other non-labor costs associated with this Rule. Because the Rule has been in effect since 1980, members of the industry are familiar with its requirements and already have in place the equipment for conducting tests and storing records. New products are introduced infrequently. Because the required disclosures are placed on packaging or on the product itself, the Rule's additional disclosure requirements do not cause industry members to incur any significant additional non-labor associated costs.

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William Blumenthal,

General Counsel

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Footnotes

1. FTC Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission’s General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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2. Based on U.S. census data from 2007. See (http://www.census.gov/​const/​www/​quarterly_​starts_​completions.pdf.) Figures for new housing starts show a continuing decline from 2005, when the Commission last sought PRA clearance for the Rule, through 2007. See id.

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[FR Doc. E8-25106 Filed 10-20-08: 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-S