Federal Trade Commission Revises Energy Labeling Rule Designed to Help Consumers Cut Energy Costs | Whuff News

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission revised its Energy Rating Rule to allow consumers to accurately compare the annual energy consumption of electrical appliances before purchasing them.

The FTC’s Energy Labeling Rule, issued in 1979 under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, requires manufacturers to attach labels to major home appliances and other consumer products that help consumers compare the energy use and cost of competing models. The labels contain three main disclosures for most covered products: 1) estimated annual operating costs, 2) a “comparison list” showing the highest and lowest energy consumption or efficiency across similar models, and 3) the product’s energy consumption or energy rating. These labels help consumers anticipate their energy costs and avoid costly surprises after the product is purchased.

The FTC’s May 2022 notice of proposed rulemaking sought comment on a planned update to the comparative list, which was last updated in 2017. The Commission did so under the Act, which requires the renewal of labels every five years. The proposed revisions will update the comparison list and related electricity costs for refrigerators and freezers, dishwashers, water heaters, room air heaters (list only), clothes washers, furnaces, televisions, and pool heaters. In addition, the Commission is revising the average energy cost figures that manufacturers must use to calculate the estimated cost of the model.

After reviewing the comments received, the FTC is now finalizing the revised rule as proposed, with two changes. First, the Commission will wait to update the television comparison rate until after the Department of Energy finalizes changes to the evaluation process. Second, the Commission has set the effective date for room air conditioner labels to coincide with the 2023 product cycle, to help ensure a systematic transition for manufacturers of these devices.

The Commission’s vote to approve publication of the notice in the Federal Register was 4-1, with Commissioner Christine S. Wilson voting. Details on specific changes to the EnergyGuide label can be found in the Federal Register notice published today.

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