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

January 13, 2010

DOE Announces Additional Energy Efficiency Enforcement Action to Protect Consumers

DOE announced on January 7 that it has entered into a Consent Decree with Haier America, thereby resolving an investigation into whether Haier violated DOE's energy efficiency standards. DOE's investigation led Haier to determine that a parts defect caused certain freezers to consume more energy than was represented to consumers, possibly violating DOE's energy efficiency standards and the Energy Star requirements for freezers. As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to enforcing energy efficiency, the Consent Decree obligates Haier to notify affected consumers, repair defective units, extend the warranty by one year, and pay a voluntary contribution of $150,000 to the U.S. Treasury.

During the investigation by DOE's Office of General Counsel, Haier voluntarily identified the freezer parts defect and took immediate steps on its own to remedy it. Haier's cooperation with the DOE investigation was critical in reaching the Consent Decree, the first ever entered into by DOE to enforce minimum energy efficiency standards. DOE encourages all manufacturers to follow Haier's example.

The Consent Decree covers standalone upright freezers sold between December 2008 and August 2009, although not all of the units will necessarily be affected by the parts defect. The following freezer models are covered: HUF138EA, HUF138PB, HUF168EA, and HUF168PB. Under the legal agreement, Haier will expand its efforts to inform consumers about potential defects in previously distributed freezers and will correct any identified defects at their expense. See the DOE press release and the Consent Decree (PDF 161 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

DOE also announced on January 12 that it has received certifications for more than 600,000 residential appliances in 15 different product categories in response to its enhanced energy efficiency enforcement efforts. DOE recently informed manufacturers that they had until January 8 to submit correct energy-use data to DOE before aggressive enforcement actions would be taken. The certification data provided by 160 different manufacturers will allow DOE to review manufacturers' compliance with minimum energy efficiency standards and to take action to ensure that products are delivering the energy and cost savings required by law. DOE will aggressively pursue all manufacturers that have failed to comply with the certification requirements or that are selling products are in violation of energy efficiency standards. See the DOE press release.