In March 2020, Hartman King PC’s negotiations with the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) favorably resulted in the agency significantly reducing its penalty demand and agreeing to resolve an enforcement action against one of the firm’s manufacturing industry clients without the need for formal litigation.

The CEC initiated an enforcement action against the firm’s client in 2019, alleging the client was responsible for selling and offering for sale certain consumer products that did not appear in the CEC’s Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (“MAEDbS”) in violation of California’s Appliance Efficiency Regulations. The agency directed the law firm’s client to immediately cease and desist from selling or offering for sale any product in California that did not appear in MAEDbS.

California’s Appliance Efficiency Regulations authorize the CEC to impose penalties of up to $2,500 per violation for each unit sold or offered for sale. There are three types of violations subject to such penalties: (1) selling or offering for sale an appliance that is not listed in MAEDbS; (2); manufacturing, importing or distributing an appliance that is subsequently sold or offered for sale by another person for end-use in California if the manufacturer has not tested, marked or certified the appliance per the applicable requirements; and (3) knowingly providing materially false information to the CEC. There are also federal regulations that apply in certain circumstances.

Here, the CEC threatened to impose significant penalties for alleged violations that involved minor “paperwork” matters, without any evidence demonstrating that the consumer products violated California’s energy efficiency standards or negatively impacted consumers, competitors, or the state. Ultimately, Hartman King PC negotiated an out-of-court settlement that marked a significant victory for the firm’s client.

“We are very pleased to have negotiated such a successful settlement for our client. We also thank the CEC for engaging with us in a cooperative negotiation process that ultimately resulted in an appropriate resolution,” said President and Founder, Jennifer Hartman King.

Hartman King PC is an environmental and regulatory boutique law firm located in Sacramento, California, serving a global client base. For more information regarding California’s Appliance Efficiency Regulations, or other environmental or regulatory matters, please contact us at or visit our website at

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