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For Immediate Release: April 24, 2007
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989

California Energy Commission Files Ninth Circuit Appeal
to Uphold State's Washing Machine Efficiency Standards

Saving Water, Reducing Greenhouse Gas, Protecting Consumer Benefits at Issue

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission filed a federal suit April 20 against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to uphold California's washing machine efficiency standards. Brought before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the suit contests DOE's 2004 denial of an Energy Commission waiver to require more efficient washing machines statewide.

"For a state that faces perpetual water issues, every drop counts," said Commission Chair Jackalyne Pfannenstiel. "Less water use in California clothes washers will eventually save enough to supply a city the size of San Diego every year," she added.

The Energy Commission seeks to overturn the DOE action, arguing that the state's washing machine standards would save substantial amounts of electricity, natural gas and water. The standards will also enhance efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The Commission's petition to DOE was strongly supported by California's local water utilities.

Under state legislation passed in 2002, the Energy Commission is required to establish standards to ensure washing machines sold in California after 2007 use no more than 8.5 gallons per cubic foot of washing machine capacity, subsequently decreasing to six gallons by 2010.

Water efficient washing machines will use on average only 21.1 gallons per wash, or 8,271 gallons a year - compared to typical models that used an average of 39.2 gallons per wash or 15,366 gallons a year for a normal household three years ago.

While the consumer on average will pay $130 more for a washing machine, savings during the life of the machine will average $242 in lower energy costs and water bills.

The Commission said that in addition to consumers, the standards will also benefit local governments as decreased water and electrical use reduces the need for additional generation of power.

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