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FTC Proposes to Adopt New DOE Test Procedure for Televisions

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking comments by Feb. 10 on a proposal to require a new Department of Energy test procedure for televisions and establish data reporting requirements for those products. The FTC notes that these amendments will ensure that the TV labeling requirements of the Energy Labeling Rule are consistent with the Energy Policy Conservation Act, which mandates that FTC labels reflect applicable DOE test procedures when available. A DOE test procedure did not exist when the FTC first issued labeling requirements for TVs. Accordingly, the Commission required manufacturers to use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star test procedure to measure TV energy use. However, the DOE’s recently completed test procedure supersedes the Energy Star procedure and triggers EPCA’s directive for manufacturers to begin using the new procedure 180 days after its issuance.

The FTC is proposing three amendments to conform the labeling rule to the new DOE test procedure. First, the Commission plans to remove the rule’s reference to the Energy Star test in section 305.5 and replace it with the DOE procedure. Second, the Commission is proposing a new reporting requirement for TVs consistent with requirements for most other labeled products such as refrigerators and clothes washers. Manufacturers may submit their new TV data through the DOE’s web-based reporting tool, the Compliance and Certification Management System. To ensure that EPCA’s 180-day period (i.e., April 23, 2014) is complete before requiring the first round of data reports, the Commission is proposing a May 1 date for annual submissions pursuant to the rule’s reporting schedule. After the FTC reviews the new data it will consider issuing updated comparability ranges for TV labels. Finally, the proposed amendments would update the definition of “television” in section 305.3 to incorporate the DOE’s definition of that term as well as limit labeling coverage to the scope of the DOE’s test procedure.

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