Senate Democrats

H.R. 5470, the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act

Summary

On June 17, 2009, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee favorably reported S.1462 to the Senate.  This legislation contained, among many provisions, a number of important energy efficiency improvements for products like electric spas, commercial furnaces, and certain types of light-bulbs. 

After reporting S.1462, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee continued to develop legislation that would make additional energy efficiency improvements.   This work led the Committee to report out amendments to S.1462 which strengthen and add to the energy efficiency provisions in the originally reported language.  Additionally, the Committee recently negotiated four consensus agreements that would make additional energy efficiency appliance upgrades.

More recently, in an effort to consolidate the various energy efficiency provisions into one bill, Senator Bingaman introduced S.3925, the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act.  This bill would strengthen the Department of Energy’s appliance program, contains no new authorizations, and according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), requires no new spending.  Senator Bingaman plans to request unanimous consent to pass H.R.5470, with a Bingaman substitute amendment.  The text of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 will consist of the text of S.3925 with changes that would add four consensus-based changes to issues that have arisen in the past few weeks regarding portable lamps, gas furnaces, small-duct high-velocity heating and air-conditioning systems, and a technical correction regarding electric motors.

The Senate may consider this legislation under a unanimous consent agreement very soon.  The following summary references the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 which retains all of the bipartisan support of S.3925 and the original score provided by the CBO.

Major Provisions

Section 2—Energy conservation standards.  Section 2 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470would update the definition of an ‘energy conservation standard’ so that the term covers applicable products with one or more energy or water standard.  This section would also add definitions for certain air-conditioner and heat pump test procedures; add standards and effective dates for certain air-conditioners and heat pumps, as agreed to between manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups; and add regional standards and effective dates for certain residential furnaces.  These provisions have been agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 3—Energy conservation standards for heat pump pool heaters.  Section 3 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would add definitions, standards and effective dates for heat pump pool heaters, as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 4—GU24 base lamps.  Section 4 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would add definitions, standards and effective dates for the next-generation, GU-24 lamps, lamp sockets, and adaptors, as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 5—Efficiency standards for bottle-type water dispensers, commercial hot food holding cabinets, and portable electric spas.  Section 5 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would add definitions, exclusions, test procedures, standards and effective dates for bottle-type water dispensers, commercial hot food holding cabinets, and portable electric spas, as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 6—Test procedure petition process.  Section 6 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would provide that any person may petition the Department of Energy (DOE) to prescribe or amend test procedures, and establishes deadlines for DOE to respond to such petitions; and for certain industrial equipment, clarifies that DOE periodically review test procedures, provides that any person may petition DOE to prescribe or amend test procedures for such equipment, and establishes deadlines for DOE to respond to such petitions.  It also provides that DOE may use the Direct Final Rule procedure currently available to prescribe consensus standards, to prescribe consensus test procedures.  

Section 7—Energy efficiency provisions. Section 7 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470would clarify the authority of the DOE to establish test procedures for new covered products and modifies the procedures used by DOE in determining standards including a requirement to consider impacts due to smart grid capabilities. 

This section of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would also require, provide, or modify that:

  • The DOE promulgate regulations on the form and content of obtaining information from manufacturers of covered products in a manner designed to minimize burdens on such manufacturers;
  • The procedures under which a state may petition for a waiver from federal preemption of a product standard, and how DOE rules on such a petition;
  • Any state may seek an injunction to restrain violations of federal energy efficiency standards and sets forth the authority, limitations, and other details of state injunctive enforcement;
  • States notify federal officials when the State is considering limitations on the use of alternative refrigerants.

Finally, this section of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 updates certain enforcement provisions of the standards program including definitions and how penalties are assessed.

Section 8—Measuring icemaker energy. Section 8 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would require the DOE to promulgate a rule to incorporate icemaker energy use into refrigerator test procedures, and sets deadlines for finalizing other test procedure rules.

Section 9—Credit for Energy Star smart appliances.  Section 9 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would direct federal officials to determine whether to update Energy Star criteria for certain products to incorporate smart grid and demand response features.

Section 10—Video game console energy efficiency study.  Section 10 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would direct the DOE to conduct a study of video game console energy use and opportunities for energy savings, and upon completion to determine whether to establish an efficiency standard. If standards are not established, then DOE shall conduct a follow-up study.

Section 11—Refrigerator and freezer standards.  Section 11 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would update definitions, exceptions, standards and effective dates for new standards for refrigerators and freezers, as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 12—Room air conditioner standards.  Section 12 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would establish new standards and effective dates for room air-conditioners,as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 13—Uniform efficiency descriptor for covered water heaters.  Section 13 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 woulddirect the DOE to publish a final rule that establishes a uniform efficiency descriptor and test methods for covered water heaters.  The section also sets forth other provisions necessary to transition from the current two descriptors for two types of water heaters, to a single descriptor for all covered water heaters.

Section 14—Clothes dryers.  Section 14 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would establish new standards and effective dates for clothes dryers, as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 15—Standards for clothes washers.  Section 15 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would establish new standards and effective dates for clothes washers,as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 16—Dishwashers.  Section 16 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would establish new standards and effective dates for dishwashers,as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 17—Standards for certain incandescent reflector lamps and reflector lamps.  Section 17 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would direct the DOE to establish new standards for certain reflector lamps,as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 18—Petition for amended standards.  Section 18 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would require the DOE to publish an explanation of DOE’s decision to grant or deny a petition for a new or amended standard (filed under current law), and to publish the new rule in cases where the petition is granted.

Section 19—Efficiency standards for class A external power supplies.  Section 19 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 wouldprovide an exception of the no-load (stand-by) mode efficiency standard for external power supplies for certain security and life safety alarms or surveillance systems.

Section 20—Prohibited acts.  Section 20 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would update certain enforcement provisions to clarify that prohibitions under the law apply to distributors, retailers, and private labelers as well as manufacturers, and clarifies that prohibitions must be “knowingly” violated in the case of regional standards. 

Section 21—Outdoor lighting.  Section 21 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would establish definitions, test methods, standards, and effective dates for certain types of outdoor lighting,as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 22—Standards for commercial furnaces.  Section 22 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would establish a new standard and effective date for commercial furnaces,as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 23—Service over the counter, self-contained, medium temperature commercial Refrigerators: Section 23 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 establish new definitions and a standard and effective date for certain service over the counter refrigerators, as agreed to by manufacturers and efficiency and consumer advocacy groups.

Section 24—Motor market assessment and commercial awareness program.  Section 24 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would direct the DOE to assess the U.S. electric motor market and develop recommendations on ways to improve the efficiency of motor systems. 

This section would also require DOE to:

  • Periodically update this information;
  • Estimate the savings attributable to the Save Energy Now Program;
  • Make recommendations to the Census Bureau on surveys to support DOE’s motor activities; and
  • Prepare an update to the Motor Master+ program of DOE. 

Finally, based on the assessment and recommendations, this section would direct DOE to establish a program to:

  • Increase awareness of the savings opportunities of using higher efficiency motors;
  • Improve motor system procurement practices; and
  • Establish criteria for making decisions regarding electric motor systems.

Section 25—Study of Compliance with Energy Standards for Appliances. Section 25 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would direct DOE to conduct, and submit to Congress with any recommendations, a study on the degree of compliance with energy standards for appliances including an investigation of compliance rates and options for improving compliance.

Section 26—Study of direct current electricity supply in certain buildings. Section 26 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would direct DOE to conduct, and submit to Congress with any recommendations, a study of the costs and benefits of requiring high-quality, direct current electricity supply in certain buildings and to determine, if this requirement is imposed, what the policy and role of the federal government should be.

Section 27—Technical corrections.  Section 7 of the substitute amendment to H.R.5470 would make technical corrections to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act regarding the appliance efficiency standards program. 

Legislative History

Senator Bingaman introduced S.3925 on September 29, 2010 and it was originally cosponsored by Senator Klobuchar.

As of December 2, 2010, the following Senators cosponsored S.3925:Bayh, Cantwell, Cardin, Coons, Feingold, Johnson, Kerry, Kohl, Lugar, Menendez, Merkley, Murray, Shaheen,Stabenow, Udall (CO),Warner, and Whitehouse.

Administration Position

At the time of publication, the Administration had not released a Statement of Administration Policy on the Bingaman substitute amendment to H.R.5470.

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