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EXC-14-0001 - In the Matter of Felix Storch Inc.

On May 2, 2014, OHA issued a decision denying an Application for Exception filed by Felix Storch, Inc. (FSI) for relief from the provisions of 10 C.F.R. Part 430, Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Residential Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers (Refrigerator Efficiency Standards).  In its exception request, FSI asserted that it will suffer a serious hardship, gross inequity, and an unfair distribution of burdens if required to adhere to the new Refrigerator Efficiency Standards, effective September 15, 2014 (2011 Final Rule), with respect to its Summit Upright Freezer, Model FSM50LESADA.  FSI maintained that, although the firm has explored various alternatives, the unit is unable to attain the lower maximum energy usage prescribed by the new standards.  In reviewing FSI’s request for exception relief, OHA noted that FSI did not introduce the Summit model FSM50LESADA into the market until December 2011, three months after the promulgation of the 2011 Final Rule which implemented the new Refrigerator Efficiency Standards, and several years after the DOE began the rulemaking process which led to the new standards.  Thus, OHA determined that, to the extent that any inequity exists in FSI being unable to market the product at issue, such inequity is attributable to FSI’s discretionary business decision to enter the market with a product without first ascertaining that the product would comply with the impending standards.  Consequently, OHA concluded that FSI failed to meet its burden of showing that the firm is subject to special hardship, gross inequity, or an unfair distribution of burdens resulting from a DOE-issued rule, regulation, or order, and, therefore,  exception relief is not warranted in this case.