Monday, November 8, 2010

TV news: watch your energy

FTC Will Require EnergyGuide Labels for Televisions

Televisions manufactured after May 10, 2011 must display EnergyGuide labels, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on October 27. A recent amendment to the FTC's Appliance Labeling Rule will require the familiar yellow-and-black labels on new TVs. The removable labels, which have long been used on home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators, are designed to provide energy cost information.

In March 2009, the FTC sought comments on whether EnergyGuide labels should be required on a range of consumer electronics, including televisions. Based on the response, in March 2010, the agency proposed requiring the labels on televisions sold in the United States. The FTC is requiring a label with two main disclosures on new TVs: the television set's estimated annual energy cost and a comparison with the annual energy cost of other televisions with similar screen sizes. The new rule requires that the new labels be visible from the front of the televisions. Beginning in July 11, 2011, the amended rule will require Web sites that sell televisions to display an image of the full EnergyGuide label. See the FTC press release, the Federal Register Final Rule notice, and examples of the FTC labels.

Also, the FTC is proposing revisions to the guidance it gives marketers to help them avoid misleading environmental claims about their products. The agency announced on October 6 that it is seeking public comments about changes to the Green Guides on such topics as renewable energy and carbon offset claims. The FTC, in its proposed revisions, notes that general "eco-friendly" claims are difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate. The agency will accept public input until December 10, 2010, after which it will decide what final changes it will make to the guidelines. See the FTC press release, which includes an electronic link for comment submissions, the summary of proposed Green Guides changes, and the full list of proposed changes.

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