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FTC Approves Final Amendments to the Energy Labeling Rule

Updates create consumer EnergyGuide labels for portable air conditioners

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a Federal Register notice (FRN) announcing final amendments to the agency’s Energy Labeling Rule (Rule). The final amendments establish EnergyGuide labels for portable air conditioners (AC) and update the energy efficiency descriptors for central AC units. They require manufacturers to label portable AC units produced after October 1, 2022.

The Rule, issued in 1979 under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, requires energy labeling for major home appliances and other consumer products to help consumers compare the energy usage and costs of competing models. The Rule requires manufacturers to attach yellow EnergyGuide labels to many of the products it covers and prohibits retailers from removing or altering these labels.

In a FRN announced in March 2020, the FTC proposed establishing EnergyGuide labels for portable AC units. The Commission already sought public comments in past proceedings on portable AC labels, which are similar to those already required for room ACs. In the FRN, the FTC proposed requiring these EnergyGuide labels starting on January 10, 2025, to coincide with new Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards applicable to these products. However, after reviewing public comments, the Commission has set the final compliance date as October 1, 2022 to make these labels available to consumers sooner.

In addition to the changes regarding portable AC units, the FTC is updating the Rule to conform with new DOE energy descriptors for central AC units that will become effective in 2023.

The Commission vote approving publication of the notice in the Federal Register was 4-1, with Commissioner Christine S. Wilson voting no and issuing a separate dissenting statement. Commissioner Rohit Chopra also issued a separate statement.

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