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DOE Extends Comment Period for RFI on the Process for Developing Energy Conservation Standards

Following a Request for Information (RFI) published on November 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has issued a notice extending the period for comments on the use of market-based approaches in the U.S. Appliance and Equipment Energy Conservation Standards program. The new deadline is March 2, 2018.

The RFI provides an opportunity to reevaluate a program that has not changed much in the past 40 years. The EERE is considering modifications that would provide additional compliance flexibilities while reducing costs, enhancing consumer choice, and maintaining or increasing energy savings. The RFI discusses several market-based regulatory approaches that apply to other sectors, such as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program for light-duty vehicles, which would allow companies within the industry to average energy efficiency across all or specific product classes. 

The EERE is also requesting feedback on possible credit or trading schemes. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) sets an express structure and schedule of energy efficiency standards for certain product classes. The RFI makes clear that ECPA will continue to apply, raising some questions about the extent of any available flexibility.

The RFI does not address how a modified program would interface with Federal Trade Commission energy guide label regulations, nor does it consider market expectations for energy efficiency data. Implications for consumer-facing information are also critical for manufacturers, although not mentioned in the RFI. However, the EERE welcomes comments on any subject within the scope of the notice, including topics not raised in the RFI, so this is an opportunity to raise such issues.

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About this Author

Sheila Millar, Keller Heckman, advertising lawyer, privacy attorney

Sheila A. Millar counsels corporate and association clients on advertising, privacy, product safety, and other public policy and regulatory compliance issues.

Ms. Millar advises clients on an array of advertising and marketing issues.  She represents clients in legislative, rulemaking and self-regulatory actions, advises on claims, and assists in developing and evaluating substantiation for claims. She also has extensive experience in privacy, data security and cybersecurity matters.  She helps clients develop website and app privacy policies,...

Jean-Cyril Walker, Keller Heckman, Environmental Compliance Lawyer, Renewable Fuel Standards Attorney

Jean-Cyril Walker joined Keller and Heckman in 2000. He advises clients on a wide range of environmental matters, including compliance with U.S. requirements governing the safe management and disposal of chemical and hazardous substances. Mr. Walker counsels fuel industry clients on federal and state requirements governing the development and distribution of fuels and fuel additives, including the renewable fuel standards (RFS and RFS2), and matters involving renewable fuel identification number (RIN) transactions. Mr. Walker regularly advises industry and trade association clients on matters concerning the regulation of hazardous air pollutants under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) and state and local air pollution statutes. In this regard, Mr. Walker has advised clients on compliance with numerous MACT standards, including those governing pharmaceutical production, chemical manufacturing, can and other surface coatings, and other industrial operations. Mr. Walker has extensive experience with CARB regulations, and in particular, on complying with regulations governing emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in adhesives, paints, and other industrial and consumer products.