LG, DoE Go to Energy Star War Over French Frigs

LG Electronics, even as it finds two of its more energy efficient consumer devices being green certified by UL Laboratories, is facing a reality check from the U.S. Department of Energy over green friendly claims on some of its refrigerators which resulted at first with Energy Star labeling. The DOE now wants to revoke that Energy Star status, and LG is taking them to court to stop this.

The issue first arose last year, when LG and the DOE entered into a binding agreement whereby the appliance manufacturer would “resolve concerns related to energy usage measurements reported by LG on its French Door refrigerators.” LG was to revise its energy ratings, temporarily remove from Energy Star classification the impacted frigs, fix frigs already purchased to make them more energy efficient, make payments to consumers to cover “the energy cost difference between the new measured energy usage of the product and the amount stated on the original Energy Guide label” and modify units in retail stock to meet the new guidelines.

image via LG Electronics

image via LG Electronics

Fast forward a year later and now the DOE, finding that these issues continue to persist, is following up with notice to remove LG French-door refrigerator-freezers from the Energy Star program effective January 2 of next year. LG Electronics has countered by filing a complaint in federal court, asking that the DOE be stopped from “unilateral measures against the company – inappropriately forcing LG to remove Energy Star labels from certain of its refrigerator-freezer models” by next month. The company says that, even though the DOE does not dispute that LG met “all its obligations” under the previous agreement, it feels “the DOE now wants to change the testing standard announced in the binding November 2008 agreement and to require LG to follow a new test procedure that has not been clarified to LG or properly announced to the industry.” It is asks that the “DOE should pursue an industrywide approach to new testing standards within the process established in law.”

The DOE, for its part, acknowledges the lawsuit and says that it will defend its actions in court and prove LG is not living up to the Energy Star standard.

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