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EPA/DOE Response to Recent GAO Report

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that in the summer of 2009 it launched an investigation to determine whether effective controls existed to prevent fraud and abuse in the ENERGY STAR program. EPA takes this report very seriously. The American people can have confidence in the ENERGY STAR label - a voluntary program that helps consumers save money by using energy efficient products. In fact, a review last year found that 98 percent of the products tested met or exceeded the ENERGY STAR requirements, and last year alone, Americans with the help of ENERGY STAR saved $17 billion on their energy bills.

The program uses a series of checks to ensure consumers are getting products that cut energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. One of the reasons the system has worked during the first 18 years of the program is that manufacturers have a market incentive to test competitors' products and report violations, which supports the program's own independent testing, verification and enforcement initiatives.

We welcome all efforts, internal or external, to improve the program, and this report raises important issues. That's why we have started an enhanced testing program and have already taken enforcement actions against companies that have violated the rules. Consumers can continue to trust the ENERGY STAR to save energy and money and protect the environment.