Victory for Efficiency: Congress Passes Milestone Energy Bill (H.R. 6582) in Lame Duck Session

A bill that will boost energy efficiency in the federal government and the industrial sector passed both houses of Congress in early December by overwhelming majorities. This bill, the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act of 2012 (H.R.6582), is on the president’s desk and likely will be signed into law this week.

The passage H.R. 6582 demonstrates that members of the 112th Congress from both sides of the political aisle see energy efficiency as a tangible benefit to the government, industry, and the American people.

Background to the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 6582)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R.6582) by a vote of 398–2 on Dec. 4, 2012. The U.S. Senate passed it by unanimous consent on Dec. 6.

The bill includes important energy efficiency provisions from two Senate bills: one that proposes a national energy efficiency strategy, and another that improves appliance energy efficiency standards.

Provisions from the National Energy Efficiency Strategy Bill (S. 1000)

The technical corrections act includes key provisions from the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1000), which proposes a national energy efficiency strategy and was introduced by Alliance Honorary Vice Chairs Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Provisions from the Shaheen-Portman bill that are in H.R. 6582 include:

  • Coordination of research and development of efficiency technologies to better deploy such technologies across industries;
  • A study of barriers to energy efficiency in the industrial sector to estimate the economic benefits of investing in energy efficiency through matching grants;
  • Best practices for advanced metering of energy use in federal buildings to monitor energy use and empower users to use less energy; and
  •  Federal energy management and data collection standards.

Provisions from the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act (S. 398)

The American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act is designed to bring energy efficiency technologies to market, as well as keep American manufacturers competitive. To that end, these provisions create energy efficiency standards for certain coolers, refrigerators, and freezers.

These standards – which were pulled from the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act (INCAA, S. 398) – not only tighten appliance and lighting efficiency standards, but also cut red tape, clarify the rules, and make it easier for manufacturers to comply with efficiency standards. These provisions build on the Department of Energy (DOE)’s 25-year-old appliance efficiency program and include:

  • Technical corrections and specific fixes to recently enacted standards;
  • Uniform descriptor of covered water heaters to help manufacturers and consumers make energy-efficient choices; and
  • Clarification of periodic review of commercial equipment standards and of DOE’s response to petitions regarding standards.

Forging Ahead

The bill’s passage during a lame duck session of Congress is a giant step forward in the fight for increased energy efficiency. The Alliance and its allies will continue working with policy makers, and will encourage the 113th Congress to adopt all the remaining provisions of S. 1000.

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