WASHINGTON - The Department of Energy (DOE) has taken action against Air-Con International, requiring the company to stop selling certain air conditioning systems in the United States that have been shown to violate minimum energy efficiency appliance standards. DOE is proposing a civil penalty of more than $230,000 for importing and distributing these inefficient cooling products. This action and the proposed penalties are part of the department’s continued commitment to act aggressively to remove unlawful products from the market. According to DOE, to date, nearly 70 different non-compliant products have been removed from commerce since 2009.

“Nothing is more important to our enforcement efforts than removing products from the market that violate our minimum energy-efficiency standards,” said DOE general counsel Scott Blake Harris. “The sale of these products is unlawful, imposes unnecessary costs on American consumers, and wastes energy.”

In March 2010, DOE issued a subpoena requiring Air-Con to submit detailed information about the energy consumption of its products and how the company marketed and sold them in the United States. Based on Air-Con’s responses to the subpoena, the department has found that the company imported and distributed nearly 2,000 air conditioning units that are rated at 10 SEER, while the federal standard requires a minimum 13 SEER rating. DOE ordered Air-Con to immediately stop selling the following two air conditioning unit models: ACN-09/12/18/24-GCH and ACN-MTS-09CO/12CO/09EV/12EV.

The DOE’s notice proposes the maximum penalty for selling non-compliant products and requires Air-Con to immediately cease further U.S. sales and provide written notification to its customers that purchased these units. Air-Con is also required to update the information it has provided to the department, including a record of the company’s U.S. sales since it last responded to DOE. If Air-Con fails to cease distribution of these models in the United States, the department will seek a judicial order to prevent further sales.

Publication date:10/04/2010