Sacramento The Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals has ruled that California and other states can require appliance manufacturers to provide information about the energy performance of their products.
A lawsuit brought by several appliance manufacturers associations in November 2002 sought to prevent enforcement of Californias appliance regulations. The regulations require manufacturers to provide the California Energy Commission with energy efficiency information on appliance models sold in the state, and to put basic energy information on product nameplates.
The manufacturers argued that Californias regulations were pre-empted by federal law and need not be followed. A federal district court agreed and issued a preliminary injunction in December 2002. As a result of todays decision, the injunction is lifted.
Californias energy efficiency standards have saved consumers billions of dollars per year in energy costs and inspired regulations in other states and on the federal level, said California Energy Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld. The information collected by California was compiled into a database that the federal government used to create the EnergyStar appliance efficiency program. The data is also used to improve Californias energy efficiency building standards, as the basis for consumer rebate programs, and for a wide variety of other programs that prevent energy waste.
The Energy Commission argued that some of the information was California-specific. Federally reported data on air conditioners, for example, is based on national energy performance, which includes the humid, less-hot climates of Florida or the Midwest. California consumers need to know how the air conditioner will perform in the hotter, drier climate of California.
The Energy Commission was supported in the suit by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the California Public Utilities Commission, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the National Association of State Energy Offices (NASEO), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), among others. The database is used across the country for consumer education and utility rebate programs.