For Immediate Release: November 12, 2015
Media Contact: Amber Pasricha Beck (916) 654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Energy Commission Reaches $1 Million Settlement over Robot Vacuums
Also funds energy efficiency workforce development and natural gas infrastructure in schools

SACRAMENTO - In an effort to ensure consumers receive the energy savings expected from household appliances, the California Energy Commission approved an agreement today with iRobot Corporation over robotic vacuum cleaners, including the Roomba. The company was manufacturing and selling appliances that did not meet the Energy Commission’s energy efficiency standard for small battery chargers.

Electric appliances use more than half the electricity consumed in buildings. Standards adopted in 2012 for battery chargers exemplify successful state efforts to reduce power use – saving enough electricity to power nearly 350,000 households annually, or a city roughly the size of Bakersfield. Once these standards are fully implemented, it is estimated California ratepayers will save more than $300 million a year.

iRobot was selling products that were not tested, marked, or certified to the Energy Commission’s standards. The Energy Commission estimates that consumers unsuspectingly wasted more than $1 million in energy costs.

The settlement states that the company will:

  • Starting December 1, 2015, meet California standards for any newly manufactured products in five product lines – Roomba, Braava, Scooba, Create, and Looj. iRobot will sell products that meet the state’s battery charger standards throughout North America, expanding the reach of California’s energy-saving policies.
  • Cease direct sale of noncompliant products in California after December 1, 2015. Retailers can sell stock of products manufactured before December 1, 2015.
  • Offer a $20 rebate to California customers who register their products by November 19, 2015. This rebate represents the approximate overpayment for energy consumed by using a noncompliant device.
  • Pay $1 million to the Energy Commission for ongoing appliance enforcement efforts.

Designed to help California reduce electricity, gas and/or water use, energy efficiency regulations cover nearly two dozen product categories. To verify that covered products meet the regulations, manufacturers must test the product, submit test data and mark the product with required identifying and energy-consumption information. Once the Energy Commission receives verification that a product meets the requirements, the product is entered in the online, searchable appliance efficiency database. Only products listed in the database may be sold or offered for sale in California. Anyone can report a noncompliant appliance.

Other Actions

  • The Energy Commission adopted nonresidential lighting standards that allow for several cost effective approaches to lighting upgrades. Compared to the 2013 lighting alteration standards, the newly adopted standards are expected to save an additional 112 gigawatt hours of electricity per year – equivalent to the annual electricity use in about 16,000 homes. Energy efficiency building standards are updated every three years. These nonresidential lighting standards are part of the broader 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards adopted in June.
  • Commissioners approved grant funding to create a workforce trained in advanced technologies for making new and existing buildings more energy efficient. California Homebuilding Foundation received nearly $4.5 million for training on the proper installation of high-performance energy efficient walls and attics in new home construction projects. The Center for Sustainable Energy received nearly $4.5 million to provide training to expand energy-related career pathways and increase workforce opportunities in disadvantaged communities. Funding came from the Energy Commission's Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program, which develops, demonstrates, and brings to market technologies and best practices that support California's energy policy goals.
  • The Energy Commission approved Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) projects, which must demonstrate the viability of bringing advanced fuels technology to the marketplace. More than $2.7 million distributed to seven school districts and cities will fund projects that establish or expand infrastructure necessary to store, distribute and dispense compressed natural gas for use in natural gas vehicles.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The agency was established by the California Legislature through the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation and preparing for energy emergencies.