State AGs, DOE to Update Energy Efficiency Standards for Household Appliances Following Lawsuit

According to a press release, multiple states have reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in which the DOE will be committed to “a timetable for updating energy efficiency standards for 20 categories of common household products and commercial equipment.”

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act requires that the DOE “periodically review and revise these efficiency standards to ensure they are set at the maximum, technically feasible and cost-effective efficiency level in order to save energy and reduce consumer and business utility costs,” per the release. A 2020 complaint brought against the DOE by a multi-state coalition contended that the agency had failed to meet these requirements.

The agreement was reached after experts estimated that updating the standards could lead to over $600 billion in utility bill savings for American families by 2050 and could significantly help in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Further, the agreement will effectively resolve the multistate complaint filed in 2020 claiming that the deadlines surrounding the standards had not been complied with in violation of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

By missing the statutory deadlines to review and revise the efficiency standards, the 2020 complaint asserted that the DOE “deprived American families of the benefits of lower energy bills, a more reliable electricity grid, and reduced emissions of dangerous air pollutants that contribute to climate change and harm public health.”

The product categories that will receive updates as a result of the agreement include refrigerators, room air conditions, pool heaters, microwave ovens, electric motors, non-weatherized and mobile home gas furnaces, and more household and commercial products.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta stated that the agreement “is an important step forward, committing the Department of Energy to an aggressive timetable for completing long-overdue reviews and updates to energy efficiency standards for 20 common household and commercial products.”