Attorney General Bonta Helps Secure New Federal Energy Standards for American Families

Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

New standards will save consumers and businesses billions in energy costs and help protect the planet

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, as part of a multistate coalition, announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) committing DOE to a timetable for updating energy efficiency standards for 20 categories of common household products and commercial equipment. According to experts’ estimates, updated standards for these products could provide more than $600 billion in total utility bill savings to American families by 2050 and avoid more than 90 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually by 2040. Today’s agreement resolves a complaint filed by the coalition in 2020 alleging that DOE failed to comply with deadlines for reviewing and updating energy efficiency standards for a range of product categories as required by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

“Today's agreement is an important step forward, committing the Department of Energy to an aggressive timetable for completing long-overdue reviews and updates to energy efficiency standards for 20 common household and commercial products,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Right now, millions of Californians are awaiting their electricity bill with trepidation following a record-breaking heat wave that forced air conditioners on and drove energy prices higher. Stronger energy efficiency standards for common household and commercial products will put money back into the pockets of these California families and small businesses, while also helping save the planet.”

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act requires DOE to periodically review and revise these efficiency standards to ensure they are set at the maximum, technically feasible and cost-effective efficiency level in order to save energy and reduce consumer and business utility costs. In 2020, the coalition filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York claiming DOE had missed statutory deadlines for review and revision of efficiency standards for multiple product categories. In the filing, the coalition alleged that in failing to meet deadlines, DOE deprived American families of the benefits of lower energy bills, a more reliable electricity grid, and reduced emissions of dangerous air pollutants that contribute to climate change and harm public health.

The 20 product categories at issue are refrigerators and freezers, room air conditioners, commercial clothes washers, clothes dryers, pool heaters, water heaters, residential clothes washers, distribution transformers, microwave ovens, electric motors, furnace fans, dishwashers, non-weatherized and mobile home gas furnaces, conventional cooking products, commercial water heating equipment, walk-in coolers and freezers, commercial refrigeration equipment, dedicated outdoor air systems, computer room air conditioners, and variable refrigerant flow air conditioners and heat pumps.

Joining Attorney General Bonta in today’s agreement are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the City of New York.

A copy of the agreement is available here.

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