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EXC-12-0004 - In the Matter of Ushio America, Inc

On June 21, 2012, OHA issued a decision granting an Application for Exception filed by Ushio America, Inc. (Ushio) for relief from the provisions of 10 C.F.R. Part 430, Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for General Service Fluorescent Lamps and Incandescent Reflector Lamps (Lighting Efficiency Standards).  In its exception request, Ushio asserted that it will suffer a serious hardship, gross inequity and an unfair distribution of burdens if required to adhere to the new Lighting Efficiency Standards, effective July 14, 2012 (2009 Final Rule), with respect to its 700 series T8 General Service Fluorescent Lamps (GSFL).  Specifically, Ushio cited previous requests for exception relief filed by Philips Lighting Company (Philips), GE Lighting (GE) and OSRAM SYLVANIA, Inc. (OSI), pending at OHA at the time Ushio filed its Application, and maintained that Ushio will be at an unfair competitive disadvantage if relief is granted to Philips, GE, and OSI, but not to Ushio.  In this case, OHA determined that the rare earth market remains volatile, and, as a result, domestic manufacturers remain subject to fluctuations in rare earth supply and prices for the foreseeable future.  OHA further concluded that these circumstances, which compelled our approval of exception relief for Philips, GE, and OSI, have by consequence created a gross inequity for domestic manufacturers like Ushio because the three companies may continue to market 700 series T8 GSFLs for a period of two years while other manufacturers may not do so.  This would give Philips, GE, and OSI an additional competitive advantage over smaller domestic manufacturers, an unintended consequence of both the existing regulations and of our subsequent exception relief to the three companies.  Therefore, OHA determined that grating Ushio exception relief was warranted in order to prevent inequities among the domestic lighting manufacturers.   Accordingly, OHA granted exception relief to the Applicant authorizing it to continue to manufacture 700 series T8 GSFLs subject to the currently applicable efficiency standards for a period of two years, until July 14, 2014.  OHA Case Nos. EXC-12-0004