Dept. of Energy issues final rule for updating electric motor legislation

WEG Electric along with a coalition of other National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) electric motor manufacturers and energy advocates have been working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the past three years in order to provide maximum energy benefits for all users of low voltage motors. The DOE is required by law to review the appropriateness of the energy regulations based on current materials and manufacturing technologies.

The DOE evaluated the possibility of raising the required efficiencies above the current NEMA Premium standard, however, it has elected to follow most of the coalition’s recommendations and will be moving all three-phase single speed, low voltage Integral HP motors ( 1-500 HP ) up to NEMA Premium Efficiency levels, excluding some exceptions. According to WEG, this ruling will save users over $15 billion and reduce millions of tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. This new standard results in one of the largest single energy savings efforts ever instituted in the United States.

NEMA Premium Efficiency levels will now be required of the following previously High Efficiency or un-covered motors:

  • 56 frame, three-phase enclosed ≥ 1 HP ( Open are covered by the small motor regulation )
  • All voltages ≤ 600 Volts
  • 8-pole ratings
  • Special shafts and flanges which includes JP/JM/HP/LP
  • Footless
  • Partial motors but not rotor and stator component sets
  • Integral or removable brake motors
  • Gearmotors if the motor meets the definition of partial motor or can be removed from the gear portion as a whole motor

The new DOE regulation has also added the term “electric” to the definition of “special purpose motor” and “definite purpose motor in the 2013 test procedure (see 78 FR 75994).”


With the new 2014 regulation the DOE has now set energy conservation standards for any electric motor with all of the following nine characteristics:

  1. A single speed induction motor
  2. Is rated for continuous duty (MG 1) operation or for duty type S1 (IEC)
  3. Contains a squirrel-cage (MG 1) or cage (IEC) rotor
  4. Operates on polyphase a-c current 60HZ sinusoidal line power
  5. Is rated for 600V or less
  6. Has a 2, 4, 6, or 8 pole configuration
  7. Is built in a three-digit or four-digit frame size (or IEC metric equivalent) including motors between two consecutive NEMA frame sizes (or IEC metric equivalent), or an enclosed 56 NEMA frame size (or IEC metric equivalent)
  8. Produces at least 1 HP (0.746 KW) but not greater than 500 HP (373 kW)
  9. Meets all of the performance requirements of a NEMA Design A, B, or C motor or of an IEC Design N or H motor


 However, the updated standards do not include at this time:

  • Air-over electric motors
  • Component sets of an electric motor
  • Liquid-cooled electric motors
  • Submersible electric motors


-Bill O’Leary


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