HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

555

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to consumer protection.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii businesses and residents pay among the highest electricity rates in the nation, which exacerbates the State's already high cost of living and increases the monthly financial burdens on businesses and residents. The legislature further finds that the high cost of living in Hawaii reinforces the importance of adopting policies that promote and encourage energy efficiency, which can provide relief for families and businesses faced with high utility bills.

Since 1980, the Federal Trade Commission has administered the EnergyGuide labeling program aimed at assisting consumers in understanding how much energy a given household appliance uses and the ongoing energy costs associated with operating the appliance. However, the EnergyGuide labels do not accurately reflect the energy costs of appliances in Hawaii because the labels are based on national average energy prices and national average usage of appliances. Since electricity rates in Hawaii are nearly triple the national average, the current in-store labeling system does not accurately convey the costs and potential savings associated with certain appliances when operated in Hawaii. The legislature finds that by displaying information in retail stores about available rebates and Hawaii-specific operating costs of certain appliances, consumers can make informed decisions about which models most align with their economic situation and preferences.

The purpose of this Act is to require retailers of certain household appliances to display signage with available rebates and Hawaii-specific operating costs.

SECTION 2. Chapter 196, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part V to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"196-    Signage for household appliances; retailers; rebates. (a) All retailers of household appliances specified in subsection (b) doing business in the State shall conspicuously display signage or text that informs consumers of the following:

(1) Available energy efficiency rebates funded by the public utilities fee; and

(2) Hawaii-specific energy costs for operation based on a 2020 statewide average residential electricity cost, and subsequent updates based on a statewide average residential electricity cost for the prior calendar year.

(b) Subsection (a) shall apply only to household appliances that appear on a retailer's showroom floor and the categories of household appliances that are required, as of July 1, 2021, to be packaged with a Federal Trade Commission EnergyGuide label.

(c) The public benefits fee administrator shall create a template for the display signage or text required in this section. The template shall be made available to retailers no later than January 1, 2022. Retailers shall display the required signage or text no later than July 1, 2022.

(d) The public benefits fee administrator shall update the template for the display signage or text required in this section every three years, at a minimum. New household appliances entering the Hawaii market between update cycles shall be appropriately labeled pursuant to this section upon appearance on the showroom floor.

(e) The Hawaii state energy office, in collaboration with the public benefits fee administrator, shall notify all retailers subject to this section of the requirements established by this section."

SECTION 3. Section 269-123, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) The public benefits fee administrator's duties and responsibilities shall be established by the public utilities commission by rule or order, and may include:

(1) Identifying, developing, administering, promoting, implementing, and evaluating programs, methods, and technologies that support energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs;

(2) Encouraging the continuance or improvement of efficiencies made in the production, delivery, and use of energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs and services;

(3) Using the energy-efficiency expertise and capabilities that have developed or may develop in the State and consulting with state agency experts;

(4) Promoting program initiatives, incentives, and market strategies that address the needs of persons facing the most significant barriers to participation;

(5) Promoting coordinated program delivery, including coordination with electric public utilities regarding the delivery of low-income home energy assistance, other demand-side management or energy-efficiency programs, and any utility programs;

(6) Consideration of innovative approaches to delivering demand-side management and energy-efficiency services, including strategies to encourage third-party financing and customer contributions to the cost of demand-side management and energy-efficiency services;

(7) Submitting, to the public utilities commission for review and approval, a multi-year budget and planning cycle that promotes program improvement, program stability, and maturation of programs and delivery resources; and

(8) Educating and training appliance manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of appliances [covered]:

(A) Covered under part VI of chapter 196 about the appliance efficiency standards established under that part; and

(B) Covered under section 196-    about the energy efficiency and energy cost information required to be displayed under that section; provided that the public benefits fee administrator shall create and update a template for the display signage or text as required by section 196-   (b) and (c),

to improve compliance."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2021.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Retailers; Household Appliances; Energy Efficiency Rebates; Energy Costs; Signage

 

Description:

Requires retailers of household appliances to conspicuously display available energy efficiency rebates funded by the public benefits fee and state-specific energy operation costs. Requires the public benefits fee administrator to create and update the template to be used by retailers. Requires the Hawaii state energy office and administrator to give notice to retailers.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.