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Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products: Decision and Order Granting a Waiver to the General Electric Company from the Department of Energy Residential Clothes Washer Test Procedure

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Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy.


Decision and Order.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) gives notice of the decision and order (Case No. CW-013) that grants to the General Electric Company (GE) a waiver from the DOE clothes washer test procedure for determining the energy consumption of clothes washers. Under today's decision and order, GE shall be required to test and rate its clothes washers with larger clothes containers using an alternate test procedure that takes the larger capacities into account when measuring energy consumption.


This Decision and Order is effective December 10, 2010.

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Dr. Michael G. Raymond, U.S. Department of Energy, Building Technologies Program, Mailstop EE-2J, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-9611, E-mail:

Elizabeth Kohl, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, Mail Stop GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585-0103. Telephone: (202) 287-7796, E-mail:

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In accordance with Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 430.27(l)), DOE gives notice of the issuance of its decision and order as set forth below. The decision and order grants GE a waiver from the applicable clothes washer test procedure in 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix J1 for certain basic models of clothes washers with capacities greater than 3.8 cubic feet, provided that GE tests and rates such products using the alternate test procedure described in this notice. Today's decision prohibits GE from making representations concerning the energy efficiency of these products unless the product has been tested consistent with the provisions of the alternate test procedure set forth in the decision and order below, and the representations fairly disclose the test results. Distributors, retailers, and private labelers are held to the same standard when making representations regarding the energy efficiency of these products. 42 U.S.C. 6293(c).

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Issued in Washington, DC, on December 3, 2010.

Cathy Zoi,

Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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Decision and Order

In the Matter of: The General Electric Company (Case No. CW-013)

I. Background and Authority

Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve energy efficiency. Part B of Title III (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309) provides for the “Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles.” [1] Part B includes definitions, test procedures, labeling provisions, energy conservation standards, and the authority to require information and reports from manufacturers. Further, Part B authorizes the Secretary of Energy to prescribe test procedures that are reasonably designed to produce results that measure energy efficiency, energy use, or estimated operating costs, and that are not unduly burdensome to conduct. 42 U.S.C. 6293(b)(3). The test procedure for residential clothes washers, the subject of today's notice, is contained in 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix J1.

DOE's regulations for covered products contain provisions allowing a person to seek a waiver for a particular basic model from the test procedure requirements for covered consumer products when (1) the petitioner's basic model for which the petition for waiver was submitted contains one or more design characteristics that prevent testing according to the prescribed test procedure, or (2) when prescribed test procedures may evaluate the basic model in a manner so unrepresentative of its true energy consumption characteristics as to provide materially inaccurate comparative data. 10 CFR 430.27(a)(1). Petitioners must include in their petition any alternate test procedures known to the petitioner to evaluate the basic model in a manner representative of its energy consumption characteristics. 10 CFR 430.27(b)(1)(iii).

The Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (the Assistant Secretary) may grant a waiver subject to conditions, including adherence to alternate test procedures. 10 CFR 430.27(l). Waivers remain in effect pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 430.27(m).Start Printed Page 76969

Any interested person who has submitted a petition for waiver may also file an application for interim waiver of the applicable test procedure requirements. 10 CFR 430.27(a)(2). The Assistant Secretary will grant an interim waiver request if it is determined that the applicant will experience economic hardship if the interim waiver is denied, if it appears likely that the petition for waiver will be granted, and/or the Assistant Secretary determines that it would be desirable for public policy reasons to grant immediate relief pending a determination on the petition for waiver. 10 CFR 430.27(g).

II. GE's Petition for Waiver: Assertions and Determinations

On June 22, 2010, GE filed a petition for waiver from the test procedure applicable to automatic and semi-automatic clothes washers set forth in 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix J1. In particular, GE requested a waiver to test its clothes washers on the basis of the residential test procedures contained in 10 CFR part 430, Subpart B, Appendix J1, with a revised Table 5.1 extended to larger container volumes. GE's petition was published in the Federal Register on September 23, 2010. 75 FR 57915. DOE received no comments on the GE petition.

GE's petition seeks a waiver from the DOE test procedure because the mass of the test load used in the procedure is based on the basket volume of the test unit, which is currently not defined for the basket sizes of the basic models cited in its waiver application. In the DOE test procedure, the relation between basket volume and test load mass is defined for basket volumes between 0 and 3.8 cubic feet. GE has designed a series of clothes washers that contain basket volumes greater than 3.8 cubic feet. In addition, if the current maximum test load mass is used to test these products, the tested energy use would be less than the actual energy usage, and could evaluate the basic model in a manner so unrepresentative of its true energy consumption characteristics as to provide materially inaccurate comparative data. DOE notes that Whirlpool Corporation and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. received interim waivers for similar products with basket volumes greater than 3.8 cubic feet on August 22, 2006 (71 FR 48913) and September 16, 2010 (75 FR 57937), respectively.

Table 5.1 of Appendix J1 defines the test load sizes used in the test procedure as linear functions of the basket volume. GE has submitted a proposed revised table to extend the maximum basket volume from 3.8 cubic feet to 5.1 cubic feet, a table the same as one developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). AHAM provided calculations to extrapolate Table 5.1 of the DOE test procedure to larger container volumes. DOE believes that this is a reasonable procedure because the DOE test procedure defines test load sizes as linear functions of the basket volume. AHAM's extrapolation was performed on the load weight in pounds, however, and AHAM and GE appear to have used the conversion ratio of 1/2.2 (or 0.45454545) to convert pounds to kilograms. Samsung and Whirlpool used the more accurate conversion value of 0.45359237. In a recently published notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), DOE published a Table 5.1 with some small differences from the Table 5.1 used by Whirlpool and Samsung, and somewhat larger differences from the Table 5.1 used by AHAM and GE. (75 FR 57556, Sept. 21, 2010). The differences are due to the conversion factor and to rounding. Differences in energy and water use will also be in the range of 0.2%. The Table 5.1 values in the alternate test procedure presented below are from DOE's NOPR.

As DOE has stated in the past, it is in the public interest to have similar products tested and rated for energy consumption on a comparable basis, and DOE will consider using the same alternate test procedure in future waiver decisions. DOE further notes that when the residential clothes washer test procedure rulemaking process is complete, any amended test procedure will supersede the alternate test procedure described in this waiver.

III. Consultations with Other Agencies

DOE consulted with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff concerning the GE petition for waiver. The FTC staff did not have any objections to granting a waiver to GE.

IV. Conclusion

After careful consideration of all the material that was submitted by GE, the interim waivers granted to Whirlpool and Samsung, the clothes washer test procedure rulemaking, and consultation with the FTC staff, it is ordered that:

(1) The petition for waiver submitted by the General Electric Company (Case No. CW-013) is hereby granted as set forth in the paragraphs below.

(2) GE shall not be required to test or rate the following GE models on the basis of the current test procedure contained in 10 CFR part 430, subpart B, appendix J1. Instead, it shall be required to test and rate such products according to the alternate test procedure as set forth in paragraph (3) below:

PTWN8055*, PTWN8050*, PFWS4600*, PFWS4605*, PFWH4400*, PFWH4405*, GFWS3600*, GFWS3605*, GFWS3500*, GFWS3505*, GFWH3400*, GFWH3405*, GFWH2400*, GFWH2405*

(3) GE shall be required to test the products listed in paragraph (2) above according to the test procedures for clothes washers prescribed by DOE at 10 CFR part 430, appendix J1, except that, for the GE products listed in paragraph (2) only, the expanded Table 5.1 below shall be substituted for Table 5.1 of appendix J1.

Table 5.1—Test Load Sizes

Container volumeMinimum loadMaximum loadAverage load
cu. ftliterlbkgLbkglbkg
≥ <.≥ <
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Notes: (1) All test load weights are bone dry weights.
(2) Allowable tolerance on the test load weights are ±0.10 lbs (0.05 kg).

(4) Representations. GE may make representations about the energy use of its clothes washer products for compliance, marketing, or other purposes only to the extent that such products have been tested in accordance with the provisions outlined above and such representations fairly disclose the results of such testing.

(5) This waiver shall remain in effect consistent with the provisions of 10 CFR430.27(m).

(6) This waiver is issued on the condition that the statements, representations, and documentary materials provided by the petitioner are valid. DOE may revoke or modify this waiver at any time if it determines the factual basis underlying the petition for waiver is incorrect, or the results from the alternate test procedure are unrepresentative of the basic models' true energy consumption characteristics.

(7) Grant of this waiver does not release a petitioner from the certification requirements set forth at 10 CFR 430.62.

Issued in Washington, DC, on December 3, 2010.

Cathy Zoi,

Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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1.  For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, Part B was re-designated Part A.

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[FR Doc. 2010-31062 Filed 12-9-10; 8:45 am]