The U.S. Department of Energy took action against Air-Con, International, requiring the company to stop selling certain air-conditioning systems in the U.S. that violate minimum energy efficiency appliance standards. DOE said Air Con distributed almost 2000 10 SEER air-conditioners in the United States, well below the minimum standard of 13 SEER.
DOE proposed a civil penalty of more than $230,000 for importing and distributing the inefficient cooling appliances.
The proposed penalty is the maximum for selling non-compliant products and requires Air-Con to immediately cease further U.S. sales as well as provide written notification to the customers that purchased these units. Air-Con is also required to update the information it has provided DOE, including information on its U.S. sales since it last responded to DOE.
DOE originally subpoenaed Air Con in March 2010, requiring the company to submit documentation on it's products' energy consumption and on how the company marketed and sold them in the United States. Based on Air-Con's responses, DOE found that the company imported and distributed the sub-standard air-conditioners.
The two air-conditioning unit models are covered by the DOE announcement:
DOE has gotten tougher in the last 2 years on products that fail to meet federal minimum efficiency standards – and on products that are Energy Star labeled but do not, in fact, satisfy Energy Star criteria. Almost 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."
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