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EXC-13-0003 - In the Matter of W.W. Grainger, Inc.

On March 18, 2013, OHA issued a decision denying an Application for Exception filed by W. W. Grainger, Inc. (Grainger) 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, Grainger asserted that it will suffer a serious hardship, gross inequity and an unfair distribution of burdens if required to adhere to the new Lighting Efficiency Standards, effective July 14, 2012 (2009 Final Rule), with respect to its LumaPro brand 700 series T8 General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFL). Specifically, Grainger cited a previous OHA decision in which OHA granted exception relief to Philips Lighting Company (Philips), GE Lighting (GE) and Osram Sylvania, Inc. (OSI), as well as several subsequent cases granting similar relief to other manufacturers, and maintained that Grainger will be at an unfair competitive disadvantage if relief is granted to Philips, GE, and OSI, and other manufacturers, but not to Grainger. In this case, OHA concluded that Grainger was not subject to the same challenges and constraints faced by the other companies for which OHA previously granted exception relief, as much of Grainger’s revenue from the 700 series T8 GSFLs is derived from other brands. Moreover, OHA concluded that as Grainger began selling its product after DOE promulgated the 2009 Final Rule, the burdens that it seeks to alleviate through exception relief would be attributable to its discretionary business decision, rather than the impact of DOE regulations. Accordingly, OHA denied exception relief to Grainger.