Congress extends Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act

Oct. 17, 2017
House clears important committee legislation to ensure fire and security alarms remain on

WASHINGTON, DC -- Oct. 16, 2017 --The House of Representatives today followed up on a crucial piece of legislation that was passed earlier this year by the U.S. Senate. S. 190, or better known as the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, cleared the Senate in August extending the exemption for external power supplies used in security systems from “no-load mode” requirements. 

Industry organizations stressed this bill was necessary due to the pending expiration of the exemption for security and life safety systems. House committee members Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) introduced identical legislation in the House, H.R. 511, which unanimously passed the Senate. The PASS Act will provide an exemption from energy use restrictions for equipment that needs to be on at all times, such as security or fire alarms.

External power supplies are used in hundreds of types of electronics and consumer products, including cell phones, tablets, laptops, video game consoles and power tools, to convert power from a wall outlet into lower voltages. More than 300 million external power supplies are shipped in the United States each year and the average American home has five to ten external power supplies. These numbers are expected to continue growing as consumers and businesses purchase new types of personal electronics.

“External Power Supplies are used for all sorts of devices. We have learned from experience that federal energy efficiency standards don’t work with all the ways we want to use them,” said #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX) in his floor remarks. “Devices like home security alarms or fire detection need to be on 24/7. But, the 2007 energy law on energy efficiency standards for external power supplies did not allow for this. Since then, Congress has created an exemption for these ‘always on’ devices, but this exemption ended on July 1, 2017.  S. 190 extends this exemption out to 2023.”