EPAct ’92 and Motors- How it Will Affect You

EPAct ’92 and Motors – How It Will Affect You

What single product is sold more often than any other product in the world today? Believe it or not, electric motors. No wonder, then, that many people are asking what the impact will be to electric motors when the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct ’92) goes into effect October 24, 1997.In the September 1996 issue of Tech Talk, we discussed how the U.S. Department of Energy established ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 – 1989 as the benchmark for all HVAC systems to be installed in buildings (other than low-rise residential structures). While that article primarily dealt with aspects of ASHRAE 90.1, this article discusses the specific impact of EPAct ’92 on motors as it relates to their use on pumps. The information we will discuss is based upon data provided by: U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Emerson Electric, Marathon Electric, and Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA).

One cautionary note: Some of this information is subject to change as the DOE formulates and releases the actual Federal code that will regulate integral horsepower electric motors. We will keep you apprised as this information becomes available.

What is EPAct ’92? EPAct ’92 is actually a revision to a previous energy bill written in 1978. The Act covers a wide range of products, including motors, lighting, buildings, alternative fuels, electric vehicles, and waste.

Which motors does EPAct ’92 cover? Participants of a special NEMA committee determined that only general purpose motors as defined in NEMA’s MGI standards guide would be included. Definite purpose and special purpose motors (such as close-coupled motors) are not included.

The committee determined that the vast majority of regulated motors were NEMA Design “A” and “B” (which we utilize on pumps) and would cover the following motor configurations:

  • 1-200HP
  • 3500,1800,1200 RPM
  • Horizontal, general purpose Polyphase
  • “T'” frame (143-449T)
  • ODP & TEFC
  • 60 HZ, 230/460V
  • Continuous duty

What EPAct ’92 DOES NOT cover:

  • Speeds lower than 1200 RPM
  • Horsepower’s above 200
  • Multispeed motors
  • Units requiring 200,208,575 volts
  • “U” frame construction
  • Inverter duty motors
  • Close-coupled or definite/special purpose motors
  • Explosion proof motors are exempt until October 24,1999

What is the new standard level for the motors in EPAct ’92? Refer to Table 1 for the new efficiency levels effective on all motors (as outlined above) manufactured after October 24, 1997.

Which new NEMA test procedures will apply? EPAct ’92 provides that the DOE must specify electric motors subject to the efficiency described above and those test procedures specified in NEMA Standards Publication MG 1-1987 and IEEE Standard 112 Test Method B for motor efficiency, as in effect on October 24, 1992.


EPAct ’92 requires that each motor manufacturer label its genera1 purpose motors with a NEMA nominal efficiency. The NEMA efficiency number will be determined by a manufacturer’s use of a computer simulation program known as correlation. The accuracy of the program will be verified by a sampling of actual motor tests. Once the DOE is satisfied with the correlation samples supplied by the manufacturer, a certificate number will be issued recognizing compliance with the program. The DOE was expected to release in December 1996 the codes indicating compliance with the efficiency on each nameplate.

How will I know if the motor supplied for my project meets EPAct ’92 requirements? All motor nameplates (for those motors, that are covered) will be labeled with a DOE approved code including the motor manufacturer’s specific compliance number issued by the DOE. Each motor nameplate also will display the NEMA nominal efficiency.


Imported motors must meet the EPAct ’92 requirements and are not exempt.

Motors manufactured prior to the October 24, 1997, date can be supplied after the October 24, 1997, effective date.

Rewinding of motors is not specifically addressed in EPAct ’92 itself and therefore is, for now, exempt from meeting the requirements.

The enforcement provisions of EPAct ’92 have not yet been specifically detailed. However, the results of not meeting the law have been spelled out. Penalties will include loss of Federal construction loans, loss of the engineer’s license, and higher building insurance premiums. It is the responsibility of the user/engineer to meet the law.

Pump manufacturers have no control over how or where the motor will ultimately be utilized. It is the user/engineer’s responsibility to determine whether a standard efficiency or Energy Efficient motor is necessary.


Terms such as “High Efficiency,” “Ultra-High Efficiency,” and “Premium Efficient” are no longer recognized by EPAct ’92 to describe the performance level of motors. The term “Energy Efficient” is now the only recognized term that refers to a true energy efficient motor. Motor manufacturers are still free to use these and other terms as brand names for their products. The use of these, or other brand names, in no way guarantees the motor’s level of performance unless it is a true “Energy Efficient” motor and is labeled as such with the DOE code.

The coming implementation of EPAct ’92 has the potential to cause confusion. We will continue to inform you as information becomes available.