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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on changes the agency is proposing to make to the EnergyGuide labels that are required for residential furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps, to help consumers and businesses install equipment appropriate for their location under new Department of Energy (DOE) regional efficiency standards. The FTC proposes to amend the EnergyGuide label to provide a U.S. map showing where the product can be installed legally, a simple format for efficiency ratings, and a link to an online energy cost calculator. The FTC also proposes requiring the label on manufacturers' websites, product packaging, and, as currently required, on the products themselves.

The DOE regional standards are mandated by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (as amended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007), which also directs the FTC to determine how energy efficiency information should be communicated to consumers. Unlike existing DOE standards, which impose uniform, national efficiency levels for heating and cooling equipment, the new standards vary by region for certain products. The new DOE requirements will become effective in May 2013 for non-weatherized gas furnaces, mobile home gas furnaces, and non-weatherized oil furnaces, and in January 2015 for weatherized gas furnaces and all central air conditioners and heat pumps.

The FTC's Appliance Labeling Rule currently requires yellow EnergyGuide labels for heating and cooling equipment that disclose the product's efficiency rating and a comparison of the highest and lowest ratings for all similar models. To promote compliance with the new DOE standards, in November 2011 the FTC sought public comment on the development of new disclosure requirements.

The Commission vote approving the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was 5-0. It is available on the FTC's website and as a link to this press release and will be published in the Federal Register soon. Instructions for filing comments appear in the Federal Register Notice. Comments must be received by August 6, 2012. All comments received will be posted at (FTC File No. R611004; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

(Energy Labeling NPR - Furnace, AC)

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