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Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute President & CEO Stephen Yurek on June 10 called on Congress to reform the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), the law governing product energy efficiency standards. Yurek told members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that the current law, at nearly 40 years old, "has not been updated to reflect new technologies and economic realities."
Yurek said that "consumers are paying a heavy price, both in real monetary costs and in comfort and safety" because of the continuous cycle of Department of Energy rulemakings that result in higher and higher energy efficiency levels. "When new equipment costs more than consumers can afford," he said, "they find alternatives, some of which compromise their comfort and safety, while saving less energy or no energy at all." Yurek told subcommittee members that while the Clinton Administration issued six major efficiency rules over eight years, the current administration issued eight such rules in 2014 alone.
Citing several examples of rulemakings in which job losses were forecast, Yurek charged that "American jobs are being lost – many of them exported – in part because of ever more stringent efficiency regulations." He also cited examples of what he termed "unrealistic assumptions" made by DOE to justify rules he said were not "economically justified for consumers," including a proposed rule for commercial packaged boilers that he said would save just 8/10ths of a percent more energy than the existing standard, while costing manufacturers up to $24 million to implement.
To remedy the situation, Yurek called on Congress to require DOE to convene stakeholders to discuss and recommend a new regulatory framework, one that would stress flexibility and enhanced technical and economic justifications for new rules, while also maximizing transparency and stakeholder engagement. Yurek's full testimony can be found here.