NEMA works very closely with the Department of Energy on a variety of issues and topics. Many electro-industry products are federally regulated by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) and undergo frequent rulemaking oversight and minimum efficiency Standards rulemakings.
- DOE General Service Lamp rulemaking. NEMA supported DOE recent proposal to revise its January 2017 "definitions" rule for general service lamps. In a proposed rule released on February 6th, 2019, DOE stated that it had misconstrued existing law and could not legally justify its January 2017 definitions of general service incandescent lamp and general service lamp and that the department was proposing to align DOE definitions with those established by Congress in 2007 because that reflected what Congress intended. NEMA agrees with DOE analysis that it is not rolling back any Standards applicable to these lamps. It is not legally possible to backslide from a point DOE could not legally stand upon in the first place. To think otherwise would erode the rule of law and the primacy of Congress in establishing public policy. NEMA filed comments on the proposal on May 3, 2019.
- DOE Process Improvement proceeding. DOE published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on February 13, 2019, with several proposed revisions to the statute in response to joint industry advocacy aimed at improving the outcomes of energy efficiency rulemakings. These changes seek to ostensibly make these rulemakings more fair, fast and accurate. While not everything requested by the rated associations was incorporated by DOE, the proposal represents a potentially significant amount of reduction of regulatory burden overall. NEMA submitted individual comments on May 6, 2019, and coordinated with AHRI and AHAM to deliver joint comments.
- DOE Request for Information on Transformer Standards. DOE has initiated a routine review as required by EPCA to consider whether increased scope or stringency of Standards for distribution transformers are technologically and financially feasible. NEMA is delivering comments which defend our position that such changes are not warranted as technology and national usage patterns for these products have not appreciably changed, and as such the conclusions of the previous rulemaking are unchanged.
- DOE Request for Information on Metal Halide Lamp Fixture Standards. DOE has initiated a routine review as required by EPCA to consider whether increased scope or stringency of Standards for metal halide lamp fixtures (i.e. streetlights) are technologically and financially feasible. NEMA comments is developing comments to illustrate both that the technology is highly mature and further gains are not feasible and that more importantly LED light fixture sales are cutting deeply into MHLF sales. Data form NEMA BIS supports this position, indicating a sharp linear decrease with no leveling off as is sometimes seen in legacy technologies that enjoy small but steady low levels of sales. In contract, the end of MHLF seems estimable and realizable in the not too distant future.
- DOE Notice of Proposed Rule for Revisions to Test Procedure Waiver Process. DOE is considering improvements to the process by which manufacturers of novel or innovative products may obtain a technical waiver from established Federal test procedures which they argue do not fairly represent the performance of their products. A waiver grants the use of a modified test procedure specific to a single product or product family. NEMA is developing comments in support of the changes proposed, with slight modifications, as they are expected to streamline and speed up the process while still ensuring the legitimacy of the process itself.