The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has had the ability to enforce conservation (both water and energy) since the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) was signed into law. However, they have only recently started to enforce regulations and, in 2013, adopted rules addressing products that fail to meet minimum energy efficiency requirements.  Though many manufacturers are already aware of the due-diligence necessary to comply with the DOE’s energy conservation standards, retailers are often unaware of how they may be affected by the changes.

Today, it’s common for retailers to produce their own private label products, often sourcing from overseas suppliers who may not be fully aware of U.S. requirements. As partners, manufacturers should work to comply with these standards, but the onus is on the retailers to comply with DOE regulations and submit the required annual filings. Unfortunately, many retailers assume they do not bear any responsibility and this mindset is creating an environment that’s ripe for liability issues. When sourcing, importing, and branding products from overseas, retailers become the “importer of product” and therefore are treated like the manufacturer.

Obviously, noncompliance can lead to serious issues. Namely, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now have the authority to deny entry for products that fail to meet applicable labeling standards under the EPCA. With that, significant fines following a DOE audit for failure to comply can be levied. And sales may be affected, too. With 54% of global consumers checking a brand’s social and environmental commitment before buying and only 3% believing advertising claims, a retailer’s reputation is on the line.1,2 To safeguard themselves, retailers need to understand their responsibilities and must work to ensure that processes are in place to prevent compliance issues.

A Trusted Compliance Partner

If you are one of the many retailers still in the dark about what these regulations mean for your business or how to comply, UL can help. As a trusted leader in product testing and standards compliance, UL can work to create a customized program specifically tailored to your unique needs. Whether you need to embrace UL’s entire services portfolio to provide testing in accordance to DOE standards or only our administrative services for annual filing on your behalf, we can ease the process. And if you’re doing business in California, UL can also help you comply with the mandatory requirements under the California Energy Commission (CEC) in conjunction with the DOE.

Compliance is not difficult or time consuming but, as a retailer, it is your responsibility. With UL at your side, you can rest easy knowing you will never miss another filing date with the DOE or CEC.

For more information, please contact Melissa Williams, Director of Retail Services, at melissa.williams@ul.com.

References

  1. http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2014/ global-consumers-are-willing-to-put-their-money- where-their-heart-is.html
  2. http://www.businesswire.com/news/ home/20120719005875/en/About.com%E2%80%99s- %E2%80%9CThe-Trust-Factor%E2%80%9D-Study- Finds-Trust