Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended, an importer is a manufacturer.  Therefore, an importer is held to the same standard as a domestic manufacturer -- just as though the importer had built the product(s) it imports.  These FAQs are designed to help an importer identify key issues to consider to ensure compliance with the energy and water conservation standards for consumer products and commercial and industrial equipment.  In these Q&As, the term "original equipment manufacturer" or "OEM" is used to refer to the party that produces, builds, or assembles the product but not the importer.

Before Importing

1. Is the product I am importing “covered”?

See the list of covered products and equipment.  For more specific information, consult the relevant definitions in 10 CFR Parts 430 (consumer products) and 431 (commercial and industrial equipment).  You should also note whether the covered product is subject to a energy or water conservation standard.  Some types of covered equipment will become subject to standards in the future but may not be subject to standards at this time.

2. If the product is covered and subject to conservation standards, has it been tested in accordance with the DOE test procedure?

Ask the party supplying you with the product and/or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).  The relevant test procedure is identified in 10 CFR Part 430 or 431.  Note that non-DOE test procedures may generate different results.

3. If the product has been tested, does it meet the applicable standard?

Ask for test data to confirm.  The applicable standards are listed in 10 CFR 430.32 or in 10 CFR Part 431.  Importers are required to maintain test data underlying a certification of compliance.  10 CFR 429.71.

4. If the product meets the standard, have you, the importer, certified the compliance of the product to DOE?

If the OEM has submitted a certification report, you may still be subject to penalties if you have not authorized the submitter to submit reports on your behalf and/or the OEM did not designate you as the Certifier on the certification report.  You, the importer, must have submitted an authorization for the OEM (or another third party such as a test lab) to submit the certification report on your behalf AND the third party must have identified you on the certification report as the importer.

Compliance Certification

1. What is a certification report?

DOE provides preformatted, standardized, product-specific Excel templates. Complete the applicable template(s) for the type(s) of product or equipment you import.  Each template has an “Input” tab for model-specific information and a “Certification” tab for company/contact information as well as the legal certification that the listed basic models comply with all applicable energy conservation standards.  When complete, upload the completed templates to your new CCMS account.
If a third party submits certification reports on your behalf, you may want to ask to see the report(s) that it has submitted.

2. Who is going to submit the report?

If you are going to submit a certification report, you first need a CCMS account. Complete and submit a user registration form by scanning and submitting a signed copy via the contact form at https://www.regulations.doe.gov/contact-us. Once the form is received, DOE's contractor will contact the user to complete the registration process.

If you are going to authorize a third party to submit a certification report, you first need to complete a third-party authorization form.  Either you or your third-party submitter may submit the completed third-party authorization form.  You do not need a CCMS account; however, your third-party submitter will need to complete a user registration form to get an account, if it does not already have one.  Your third-party submitter will complete the appropriate template(s) for the products you import and will upload the completed templates using its CCMS account.  You are still responsible for ensuring that the products are certified prior to importing them into the U.S.

3. Does the product you are importing meet the applicable standard(s)?

You should ask for test data before certifying that the product is compliant.  You may also want to inquire about the processes the OEM has in place to ensure the product is compliant.  Were the test results from prototypes or units coming off the manufacturing line?  Does the OEM routinely sample units coming off the line to ensure consistency?  Does the OEM ever do random sampling after shipment or are units selected by the factory?  You, the importer, are responsible for the compliance of the products you import with the energy/water conservation standards.

4. Does listing on DOE's public database mean DOE has "approved" my product for distribution in the U.S.?

No.  Certifications are submitted through the Compliance Certification Management System (CCMS) system.  Although DOE provides limited information from manufacturers’ certification reports on its public database, DOE does not make any representations or warranties about the accuracy of the information.  In other words, DOE is not providing “approval” by posting model information on the public database.  When a manufacturer submits a certification report through CCMS, the system automatically sends out an email confirmation of the submittal, which is the submitter's proof of having submitted the certification report to the Department. The regulatory requirement to submit reports is fulfilled upon submission of a certification report that complies with the requirements of 10 CFR Part 429 - not upon posting on DOE’s public database.

For additional information, you may wish to review a presentation made on August 23, 2016, to the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which focused on issues of interest to importers.