Bryan Cohen Aug. 9, 2013, 5:35pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced Friday that a multi-state coalition of state attorneys general reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy on a new timetable to update energy-efficiency standards for certain appliances.

The coalition, which includes the attorneys general of Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts and Maine, pushed for the agreement.

The agreement sets deadlines for new standards on four categories of high energy-demand products: commercial refrigeration equipment, electric motors, metal halide lamps and walk-in coolers and freezers.

The DOE is required to periodically review and revise energy efficiency standards on commercial and consumer products that use large amounts of energy as part of the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

The DOE missed previous legal deadlines to update the standards for equipment that was seven to 18 months overdue.

"This agreement recognizes energy efficiency as an important step to reducing not only energy bills for residential and commercial customers, but also the air and water pollution generated by utility plants to produce that energy," Jepsen said in a statement. "We will be monitoring closely DOE's progress toward meeting these new goals."

Under the terms of the agreement, the DOE committed to issuing proposed standards this month for the four categories of high energy-demand products, with finalized rules coming between January and May.

The coalition reserves the right to take legal action under the EPCA to compel the department to update the standards of it fails to meet the agreed upon deadlines.

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, updating energy efficiency standards for the four appliance classes would eliminate 2.2 million metric tons of air pollution and save $156 million for utility consumers each month on energy costs.

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