When the Federal Trade Commission looked into energy efficiency labeling online, it found that retailer after retailer was failing to provide consumers with required information about appliance operating costs and energy usage. Even after the agency levied stiff fines against some retailers, many if not most retailers continued to ignore their consumers’ need for this information.
The Latest On: unplugged
We know we have been critical of the Obama administration of late, calling on the Department of Energy to get moving on publishing crucial energy efficiency standards. But we are happy to applaud the administration when they make good on their promise for a clean energy future. The latest: new clothes washer and dishwasher standards will not only save American consumers money on their utility bills, but will lead to washers that use much less energy and water.
You probably pass by them all the time on the street without giving them a second glance: those gray cylinders on telephone poles. They are called distribution transformers -- and they are a crucial component of the electric grid. They serve to reduce the high voltage used in distribution lines to the lower voltages we use in our homes, offices and businesses.
Usually when our elected leaders fight federal rules, they are going to the mat for their corporate benefactors. Yet we scratch our heads in wonder over who exactly has pushed them to take on this light bulb fight. Last week, the House GOP majority included in their must-pass funding legislation a rider to block funding for DOE’s enforcement of certain light bulb efficiency rules.
Back in July, I wrote about the lengths to which shoppers sometimes have to go in order to find legally required energy efficiency information about appliances for sale online. In response, more than 10,000 of you wrote in supporting our petition telling the Federal Trade Commission to require online retailers to display that information front and center in their product listings.
Thanks to action taken by the U.S. Department of Energy, American consumers are expected to save more than $21 billion (through 2043) on their utility bills as a result of new energy efficiency standards for home refrigerators and freezers. The new standards will improve the efficiency of these appliances by about 25 percent starting in 2014.
Today, we begin with a quiz:
Which of the following should online consumers have to do to be able to evaluate the operating costs of an appliance?