The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 511, the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act and H.R. 518, the External Power Supply (EPS) Improvement Act of 2017, by voice votes. Both bills make changes to the Department of Energy (DOE) rulemaking for external power supplies, which was last changed by Congress in 2007.
“When Congress first set standards for external power supplies, today’s LED lighting technology was not foreseen. These bills provide updates that incorporate the latest technology into existing DOE rules,” says NEMA President and CEO Kevin Cosgriff. “We are pleased that lawmakers have acted to pass these bills.”
The PASS Act, introduced by Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Susan Brooks (R-IN), maintains an exemption for certain security and life safety products from DOE efficiency requirements for external power supplies in standby or “no-load” mode. Security and life safety systems are always on and in active mode, to detect signals from sensors and initiate alarm communications, such as fire alarm signals. The power supplies that support these systems are not designed with the capability to operate in standby mode, which is why this bill extends their exemption for the no-load requirement.
The EPS Improvement Act, introduced by Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and Charlie Dent (R-PA), clarifies the statutory definition of external power supplies set forth in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2005. The new bill also amends the conditions under which the DOE could undertake a rulemaking in the future.
Innovation in the lighting industry caused the drivers for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) to be categorized as external power supplies. In view of further development of LED and OLED technologies and their popularity for previously unforeseen uses, the definition of EPS needed to change.
Both bills await action in the Senate, where companion legislation is expected to be introduced. Electrical manufacturers support passage by the Senate and signature by the president.