Matching the Pace of Technology and Policy

Matching the Pace of Technology and Policy

This piece was originally published as the chairman’s column in the June 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Michael Pessina, Co-CEO and President, Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.

When Congress passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in 2005, its members could not have foreseen the changes in security and life safety systems nor the vast advances in light-emitting diode (LED) technology that would evolve over the ensuing decade. NEMA has been on the leading edge of those changes, and we play an important role with Congress and the Administration to pass legislation and amend regulations that reflect the changes in technology.

In January 2017, for example, the House of Representatives acknowledged the need to “catch-up” by passing two regulatory relief bills that include commonsense updates to existing Department of Energy (DOE) rules. NEMA supports these bills and looks forward to swift passage by the Senate and signature by the President:

  • HR 511 Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, which maintains an exemption from DOE efficiency requirements for external power supplies in standby or no-load mode for security and life safety products that must remain in active mode to initiate alarm communications
  • HR 518 External Power Supply (EPS) Improvement Act, which clarifies the definition of external power supplies to avoid limiting the benefits of LEDs and OLEDs

Advocacy of this nature should—and will—remain a critical part of our association’s mission.

The goal of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2005 was to improve energy efficiency and drive sustainable energy use. We are committed to driving building efficiency by promoting smart, connected products, but in ways that preserve consumers’ freedom of choice. After all, we believe consumers are best equipped to select the products that create better working and living environments in their buildings.

NEMA helps by identifying areas where regulation can be a barrier to achieving building efficiency goals. For example, LEDs significantly contribute to the energy efficiency of smart buildings. Eliminating the opportunity for standby power consumption in LEDs, as regulations threatened to do, could undermine the inherent value that LED technology can contribute.

Because the electrical world is highly regulated, I encourage member companies to become active in NEMA committees and councils engaged in this important work. One of the special values of membership is the ability for all of us to join together and pool our contacts where we have plants and employees with NEMA staff, and Washington connections that allow us to be especially persuasive in dealing with the government.

Lastly, I would like to commend NEMA Communications staff and member contributors for once again earning three Hermes Creative Awards and an Azbee Award of Excellence. These represent an outstanding achievement and demonstrate the vibrancy of our association as well as the importance of advocacy within the industry, the government, and the public.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *