This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 07, 2007

GAO Report Says DOE Missed Efficiency Standards Deadlines

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on March 1st that finds DOE at fault for missing its deadlines on setting new efficiency standards for appliances and electrical equipment. According to the GAO report, of the 34 congressional deadlines that have passed, DOE missed them all, by as little as one year and by as many as 15 years. The report notes that DOE has completed rulemakings for three categories—clothes washers; small furnaces; and refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers—while rulemakings for 17 other categories remain unfinished. See the abstract of the GAO report, which links to the full report.

DOE has acknowledged the missed deadlines and has taken action to correct the problems. Early last year, DOE released a five-year plan to address the rulemaking backlog and to meet the additional statutory requirements set by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. So far, DOE has kept to that schedule. DOE also proposed legislation in late February for a new fast-track process when stakeholders reach a clear consensus on a new standard. See the DOE press releases from February 1st, 2006, and from February 26th, 2007.