FTC seeks public comment on its labeling requirements for public EV chargers

Under the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Federal Trade Commission established the Alternative Fuels Rule, which includes uniform labeling requirements for EV charging stations. The labels must provide ‘‘appropriate information with respect to costs and benefits, so as to reasonably enable the consumer to make choices and comparisons.’’ The required labels must be ‘‘simple.”

Although the same requirement does not apply to the government documents that explain the labeling requirements, the labels themselves are indeed pretty simple. The current rule requires a label on each public EV charging station that discloses:

  1. the name of the “fuel” being dispensed (electricity);
  2. the system’s capacity in kilowatts;
  3. voltage;
  4. whether the voltage is AC or DC;
  5. amperage;
  6. whether the system is conductive (wired) or inductive (wireless).

For example, a typical label might read: “9.6 kW; 240 vac/40 amps; conductive.” Retailers must place the label conspicuously on the face of each dispenser.

Note that this rule has nothing to do with pending regulations in California, Germany and elsewhere that require charging stations to display the amount of energy dispensed (as gas pumps do). It only requires a static label containing the basic information listed above, and one might think that (unlike some government regulations) it’s uncontroversial and easy to comply with.

Be that as it may, the FTC periodically reviews all its rules in order to “examine their efficacy, costs and benefits” and to “determine whether to retain, modify, or rescind them.” The Commission completed its most recent Rule review a decade ago, so it’s now commencing a new review, and is seeking public comment on the current Alternative Fuels Rule.

The Commission specifically seeks comment on the Rule’s labeling requirements for EV charging stations operated by retailers for consumers.

The Commission seeks comment on the following questions, among others:

  • Does the Rule’s current label for EV charging stations help consumers make choices and comparisons when they are seeking to charge their vehicles? Can the label be ‘consolidated with other labels providing information to the consumer?
  • Is there any research about how consumers understand or interpret information at EV charging stations, including the FTC label? Is there evidence of consumer confusion related to the use of charging stations on the market now?
  • Should the Commission make any changes to the content of the current EV charging station label?
  • Should the Rule specifically allow the label to appear on the charging station’s video screen? If so, what requirements should the Rule include to ensure the label is visible to consumers using the station? 

Comments must be received on or before December 26, 2023, and can be filed online or by mail at: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail Stop H–144 (Annex F), Washington, DC 20580.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

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