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EXC-12-0007 - In the Matter of Tailored Lighting, Inc.

On October 23, 2012, OHA issued a decision considering an Application for Exception filed by Tailored Lighting, Inc. (TLI) for relief from the provisions of 10 C.F.R. Part 430, Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for General Service Fluorescent Lamps and Incandescent Reflector Lamps (Lighting Efficiency Standards).  In its exception request, TLI requests exception relief for its principal product, a PAR-shaped daylight incandescent reflector lamp known as the SoLux PAR. The company maintains that it has been unable to develop a more efficient alternative that offers the same utility as the SoLux PAR and, as a result, will suffer serious hardship, gross inequity, and an unfair distribution of burdens if required to comply with the applicable energy efficiency requirements set forth in 1992 Amendments to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. § 6295(i)(1) (also the 1995 efficiency standards), and the enhanced Lighting Efficiency Standards that the DOE adopted in a 2009 Final Rule, 10 C.F.R. § 430.32(n)(3) (the 2012 efficiency standards).  OHA dismissed the portion of TLI’s request for exception seeking relief from the 1995 efficiency standards because those standards were set forth by statute and OHA does not have jurisdiction to consider a request for exception that purports to adjust statutorily prescribed efficiency standards.  OHA then considered the remaining question of whether it should grant TLI exception from the 2012 efficiency standards, thereby maintaining the 1995 efficiency standards as the required minimum lamp efficacy for the SoLux PAR.  On that issue, OHA determined that TLI should not be granted relief on three grounds.  First, TLI’s decision to pursue development of a product that could not attain existing or impending efficiency standards was a discretionary business decision not warranting relief.  Second, even if TLI’s hardship was not the result of its own discretionary business decision, TLI’s request for relief fell outside the scope of OHA’s authority because the cause of TLI’s hardship was not an agency-promulgated rule (which is the only hardship for which OHA has authority to fashion relief), but rather applicability of the underlying statute.  Finally, even if OHA had authority to grant relief, there was no meaningful relief to grant that would alleviate TLI’s hardship because OHA could not grant relief allowing TLI to produce a lamp whose average lamp efficacy is less than the statutory requirements and the SoLux PARs fall far short of attaining the efficiency levels mandated in the 1995 efficiency standards.  Accordingly, OHA dismissed in part and denied in part TLI’s request for exception relief.