WASHINGTON - The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report that finds the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at fault for missing its deadlines on setting new efficiency standards for appliances and electrical equipment. According to the GAO report, of the 34 congressional deadlines that have passed, DOE missed them all, by as little as one year and by as many as 15 years. The report notes that DOE has completed rulemakings for three categories - refrigerators, refrigerator-freezers, and freezers; furnaces; and clothes washers - while rulemakings for 17 other product categories, including water heaters, remain unfinished.

DOE has acknowledged the missed deadlines and has taken action to correct the problems. Early last year, DOE released a five-year plan to address the rulemaking backlog and to meet the additional statutory requirements set by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. So far, DOE has kept to that schedule. DOE has also proposed legislation for a new fast-track process when stakeholders reach a clear consensus on a new standard.

Publication date:03/19/2007