Closures at 29 West Coast marine ports in February 2015 due to a labor dispute have resulted in significant delays for certain goods entering the United States through those ports. DOE issued an enforcement policy not to seek civil penalties for violations of the energy and water conservation standards resulting from those delays under certain circumstances.
On June 27, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published in the Federal Register a direct final rule (DFR) under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 6291-6309, which set forth amended energy conservation standards for residential furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps, including regional standards for different product types in indicated States. 76 FR 37408.
The General Counsel's enforcement office settled an enforcement action against Whirlpool Corporation for $5,329,800. Whirlpool agreed to the settlement after manufacturing and distributing refrigerator-freezers that consumed about 8% more energy than permitted under the appliance energy conservation standards. This settlement reflects DOE's penalty policy.
The General Counsel's enforcement office settled an enforcement action against Ningbo Hicon International Industry Company, Ltd. for $1,927,097. Ningbo Hicon is a Chinese company that manufactures consumer refrigeration products for a variety of private labelers. Ningbo Hicon agreed to the settlement after manufacturing and distributing chest freezers that consumed about 30% more energy than permitted under the appliance energy conservation standards. This settlement reflects the second largest penalty since the enforcement office was created in 2010.
After collaborating with the Department of Energy and considering comments from stakeholders, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a final rule last week that allows CBP to refuse admission into the customs territory of the United States for sale within the United States of covered products that fail to meet an applicable DOE energy conservation standard.
The Department of Energy has settled civil penalty actions it initiated against nine companies for the manufacture and sale in the United States of products that fail to meet federal energy conservation standards. The covered consumer products and commercial/industrial equipment found in violation included automatic commercial ice makers, distribution transformers, external power supplies, showerheads and lighting products. The companies ceased all sales within the United States of the products that violated federal energy conservation standards.
The Office of Enforcement recently resolved enforcement actions against thirty-nine companies for failure to submit the required certification reports that their covered products or equipment comply with federal energy and water conservation standards. DOE assessed civil penalties averaging about $8,000 per manufacturer for a wide variety of products, including lighting products, home appliances, and commercial walk-in cooler/freezer components.
Midea America Corp., Hefei Hualing Co., Ltd., and China Refrigeration Industry Co., Ltd. (“Midea”)—all subsidiaries or affiliates of GD Midea Holding Co., Ltd.—agreed to pay $4,562,838 after admitting in a Compromise Agreement [insert link] that one refrigerator-freezer basic model and three freezer basic models fail to meet the relevant federal energy conservation standards.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Enforcement issued a Notice of Noncompliance Determination (Notice) on October 11, 2012, to YMGI Group, LLC (YMGI) regarding through-the-wall split system central air conditioner basic model TTWC-18K-31B. DOE enforcement testing revealed that this model operates at a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of 8.3. The current federal standard requires that through-the-wall split system central air conditioners operate at a SEER of 12 or greater.
The Office of Enforcement recently settled enforcement actions against ten companies for failure to submit the required certification that products comply with the federal energy conservation standards. Several companies were subject to higher penalties due to a history of noncompliance with the certification regulations.