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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the federal energy efficiency standards program for household appliances.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. To help ensure compliance with the requirements for establishing appliance efficiency standards in both the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Secretary of Energy should allocate resources, after appropriate consideration of competing priorities, that will enable the appliance standards program to comply with statutory deadlines.
Closed - Implemented
DOE's budget for the appliance program has increased from $3.1 million in 1993 to $8 million in 1994. DOE will request a budget of $11 million in 1995. If DOE's 1995 budget request is granted, staffing will have increased from 3 FTEs in 1992 to 14 in 1995 for the program.
Department of Energy 2. To help ensure compliance with the requirements for establishing appliance efficiency standards in both the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE staff to use concurrent steps whenever possible for internal reviews of proposed standards.
Closed - Implemented
DOE has formalized a concurrent review process. According to the Director, Appliance Standards, DOE's General Counsel and Assistant Secretary for Policy concurrently meet and review all proposed regulatory changes each month.
Department of Energy 3. To help ensure compliance with federal appliance energy efficiency standards and accurate reporting of efficiency levels, the Secretary of Energy should ask manufacturing associations to test and certify the claimed energy efficiency levels of all appliances that are subject to performance efficiency standards.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOE disagrees with the need for certification programs to test all types of appliances covered by appliance efficiency standards. DOE states that implementing the recommendation would be too costly.
Department of Energy 4. To assist DOE officials in identifying patterns or recurrent instances of test values that do not meet federal standards, the Secretary of Energy should ask the manufacturing associations to provide DOE with actual test results data.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Office of Codes and Standards has withdrawn a request to hire a new staff person to peruse summary test results and initiate enforcement actions. Because of ongoing and anticipated budget reductions, this recommendation is no longer applicable and should be considered closed.

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