A bill by California state Senator Fran Pavley that provides consumer protections for residents who purchase energy-efficient products and services passed the Senate on Saturday and now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.
SB 454, the bill introduced by Sen. Pavley, a Democrat from Agoura Hills, ensures that California’s energy efficiency appliance standards provide expected energy savings for the state while helping consumers save money off utility bills.
The legislation, sponsored by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the State Building and Construction Trades Council, gives the California Energy Commission (CEC) the authority to enforce energy code violations for appliances and withhold energy efficiency rebates that are disbursed by investor-owned energy utilities until proper permits are obtained.
The bill is a response to numerous complaints that CEC has received from contractors and consumers regarding violations of building and appliance energy efficiency standards. According to a recent analysis of complaints, proper permits are obtained in less than 10 percent of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) replacement projects in existing buildings. Recent studies also show that half of the appliances sold in California don’t meet the state’s high energy efficiency standards.
Although the CEC sets energy efficiency standards and requires certification for products and services sold in the state, the commission currently has no power to enforce its standards.
Gov. Brown has until Oct. 1 to sign the bill.
“Pavley Consumer Protection Bill Heads to Governor,” Studio City Patch, Sept. 10, 2011.