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The Commission has approved the publication of a Federal Register notice related to the Appliance Labeling Rule (16 CFR Part 305). The FTC is seeking public comment on a proposed rule change and exemption request recently submitted by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) regarding testing and labeling of clothes washers. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established a new efficiency standard and test procedure for clothes washers, effective January 1, 2004. In anticipation of these changes, manufacturers will begin shipping hundreds of new energy efficient clothes washer models this summer. AHAM is seeking an exemption from certain Rule requirements, so manufacturers may begin using the new DOE test for EnergyGuide labeling purposes as soon as possible. AHAM has also proposed modifications to the EnergyGuide labels to identify which models have been tested under the new procedure.

The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. The notice, which will be published shortly, is now available on the Commission's Web site. Written comments on the proposed rule change and exemption request must be submitted within 30 days of the publication of the notice. (FTC File No. R611004; staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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