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Bipartisan, Congressional Movement on E-Labeling and External Power Supply Bills

Today the House of Representatives approved two bipartisan bills, the EPS Service Parts Act of 2014 (H.R. 5057) and the E-Label Act (H.R. 5161), that will help electronic device users continue to power their devices and even take advantage of the device’s technology to enhance their appearance.

The EPS Service Parts Act of 2014, introduced by Reps. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Paul Tonko (D-NY), extends current energy efficiency standards so manufacturers can continue to produce, distribute and service energy efficient external power supplies (EPS) for older, out of production products.  A common sight in the modern world, an EPS is the AC power adapter that converts household electricity to much lower DC voltages to charge laptops, small desktops, tablets, networking products and mobile phones.

On the Senate side, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Robert Portman (R-OH) introduced a companion bill yesterday, S. 2791, giving further momentum to fixing this problem. Without this change in law, manufacturers would be required to redesign and qualify new service and spare EPS for existing products that are no longer in production at significant expense for both the companies and consumers. The bill addresses this oversight in current law, and also builds in protections to ensure that it is not misused.

The E-Label Act, introduced by Reps. Robert Latta (R-OH), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Marsha Blackburn (D-TN) and Peter Welch (D-VT), may be just as welcome by consumers who own devices like smartphones, tablets and computers.  That's because the bill would allow electronics manufacturers to display information required by the FCC onscreen and online rather than through physical labels on devices. 

In the Senate, Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) have introduced the companion E-LABEL Act (S. 2583). By bringing the laws that govern labeling into the 21st century, customers will benefit from cleaner looking devices thanks to digital stamps that can be viewed and readily accessible onscreen and online. Digital labeling will also save manufacturers a labeling process that grows more difficult as product sizes decrease, meaning the consumer will also ultimately benefit from the lower costs e-labels offer, not to mention the aesthetics of having devices that don’t resemble a race car. 

The needed components to get these legislative initiatives across the finish line in the 113th Congress are there.  While time is short before the end of the year for the Senate to follow suit, ITI will continue to urge that lawmakers pass and send the bills to the president's desk for his signature. 

Public Policy Tags: Environment & Sustainability