Comparing Energy Use Costs Can Help Consumers Save Money on Their Utility Bills

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission recently announced it is seeking public comments on proposed updates to the Energy Labeling Rule which will allow consumers to more accurately compare the estimated annual energy consumption of appliances before they buy them.

The FTC’s Energy Labeling Rule, issued in 1979 under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, requires that manufacturers attach labels to major home appliances and other consumer products that help consumers compare the energy usage and costs of competing models. The rule also prohibits retailers from removing or altering these labels.

It also requires Lighting Facts labels or other disclosures for many household appliances. These labels help consumers anticipate their energy costs and avoid costly surprises after a product has already been purchased.

The rule requires the Commission to revise the comparability ranges and associated energy costs every five years for certain EnergyGuide labels. The FTC’s notice of proposed rulemaking seeks comments on scheduled updates to the comparability ranges that were last revised in 2017. These updates focus on three disclosures for most covered products: 1) estimated annual operating cost, 2) a “comparability range” showing the highest and lowest energy consumption or efficiencies for all similar models, and 3) the product’s energy consumption or energy efficiency rating. Details on the specific EnergyGuide label changes can be found in the Federal Register notice.

The Commission vote approving publication of the notice in the Federal Register was 3-1, with Commissioner Christine S. Wilson voting no and issuing a separate dissenting statement.

Consumers can submit comments electronically. Consumers also may submit comments in writing by following the instructions in the “Supplementary Information” section of the notice.

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