State Standards Update - March 2021

Highlighted updates on state-level appliance standards activity from ASAP staff (March 2021).


The California Energy Commission (CEC) is conducting pre-rulemaking activity in order to establish flexible demand standards for appliances. This follows the passage of SB 49 in 2019 authorizing CEC to establish standards and labeling requirements for appliances that promote grid-connectivity among appliances in order to schedule, shift, or curtail their electricity demand. In December 2020, CEC held an all-day workshop exploring the idea with more than 170 participants in attendance. Presentation slides as well as public comments submitted after the workshop can be found here. A CEC staff report is expected in Q3 2021 followed by the initiation of the formal rulemaking process in Q4 2021. The rulemaking is currently expected to result in standards going into effect in Q3 2023. This California activity follows 2019 legislation in Washington state (HB 1444) which required electric hot water heaters sold after January 1, 2021 to have a communications port to make them grid-connected-ready.

District of Columbia

In December 2020, the Washington, DC City Council voted unanimously to adopt energy-saving standards for 16 common household and commercial products including air purifiers, computers, faucets, and commercial cooking equipment. The bill, B23-0204will cut utility bills for consumers and businesses and help the District meet their target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2032. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the legislation on December 22, 2021. In a process unique to DC, all bills are sent to the U.S. Congress. If no objections are raised by Congress, the bill will become law on March 19, 2021. Read more here.


As we go to press, we await news on the 2021 Massachusetts climate bill. In the 2019-2020 session, an appliance standards package for 17 products was included in a broader climate roadmap bill that was adopted by the House and the Senate and sent to Governor Charlie Baker on the last day of the session. The governor vetoed the bill, citing no avenue for addressing areas of disagreement since the legislative session had already ended. In the 2021-2022 session, the Senate and the House adopted the exact same bill (S.9) and sent it to Governor Baker, just 3 weeks after the session began. In the letter the governor sent back to the legislature with amendments, there were no changes to the appliance standards section. The appliance standards portion of the bill, initially sponsored by Representative Josh Cutler and Senator Jason Lewis, is expected to save consumers $1.9 billion (in today's dollars) through 2035 and over that same period, cut CO2 emissions by 2.5 million metric tons, equivalent to the emissions of more than 540,000 cars for a year.

Additional States

Ten additional states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island) are pursuing standards in 2021. In the first week of March, the Maryland Senate voted 47-0 to adopt SB0418, and the Hawaii House voted 49-1 to adopt HB 116. The Maryland bill would adopt standards for 13 products and the Hawaii bill would add portable electric spas to Hawaii's list of products with efficiency standards. On March 4, the New Jersey Senate Education, Health, and Environment and Energy Committee voted S3324 out of committee favorably. The bill has standards for 17 products. Its companion bill, A5160, was voted favorably out of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee on February 24.