AHAM is seeking an end to the regular tightening of appliance efficiency standards or “serial rulemaking” that occurs every six years under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). More stringent federal efficiency standards are likely to increase costs for manufacturers and consumers without providing meaningful energy savings.
EPCA requires the Department of Energy to conduct regular reviews of efficiency standards, though DOE is not required to make them more stringent. But in nearly every case, DOE has opted to issue more stringent standards following reviews. Most appliances covered by the program now operate at or peak efficiency, making it unlikely that additional standards will result in significant energy gains. Continuing with the current policy could put product performance at risk as manufacturers are forced to make design changes to accommodate more stringent efficiency standards.
Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, AHAM President and CEO Joseph M. McGuire made the case for EPCA reform.
“Further standards are likely to increase costs to consumers and manufacturers beyond an acceptable level and for some products reduced energy use will likely result in degraded performance and functionality,” McGuire said. While AHAM continues to support federal efficiency standards, EPCA should be reformed to take into account past efficiency gains, he said. “Because EPCA’s goals have been achieved for many products, these continued mandatory, serial rulemakings no longer make sense for all products.”
In addition to ending serial rulemaking, AHAM is seeking a number of other reforms to EPCA, including:
- The inclusion of a list of covered products exempt from further rulemaking
- Establishing a minimum time that must elapse between completion of a test procedure and proposal of a related efficiency standard
- Requiring DOE to consider the cumulative impact of regulations
- Transparency around government assumptions and models on which standards are based
- Mandatory procedures for public input prior to proposals being issued
AHAM will continue to engage members of Congress and urge them to pass legislation that will secure these EPCA reforms.
Read AHAM's full testimony on EPCA Reform