Alliance Calls on Congress, DOE to Expedite Process For Setting Robust Appliance Energy-Efficiency Standards | Alliance to Save Energy

Alliance Calls on Congress, DOE to Expedite Process For Setting Robust Appliance Energy-Efficiency Standards

Release Date: Thursday, March 1, 2007

GAO Report Cites Potential Savings of $28 Billion

Washington, D.C., March 1, 2007 – The Alliance to Save Energy today called on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Congress to join forces to ensure that DOE issues strong and timely energy-efficiency appliance standards for 20 types of products on which DOE has missed statutory deadlines. Commenting on today’s report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Alliance called on Congress to provide needed authority, funds, and oversight, while DOE concentrates on putting forward the strongest, most cost-effective standards.

“Appliance standards are the bedrock of our federal energy-efficiency policy. But in order to meet our nation’s energy needs, Congress and DOE need to work together to give this program the resources, management, authority, and focus it deserves. DOE needs to set standards quickly and effectively,” said Alliance Senior Policy Analyst Lowell Ungar.

He added, “For too long, and through multiple administrations, the appliance standards program has been not just a day late and a dollar short, but years late and billions of dollars short on consumer energy savings. Now DOE needs to deliver standards that not only are on time but also meet our nation’s need for cost-effective energy savings.”

The GAO report notes an estimate by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that delays in setting standards for the four most energy-consuming consumer product categories – refrigerators and freezers, central air conditioners and heat pumps, water heaters, and clothes washers – will cost the nation at least $28 billion in forgone energy savings by 2030. Ungar said, “Congress and DOE must work together to make sure the nation does not continue to lose billions of dollars of energy savings.

“DOE recently has made standards a priority, but the GAO report shows that DOE needs to improve program management and increase funding and staff,” Ungar said. “For its part, Congress needs to clarify DOE’s authority to set the standards that make most sense for a given product, ensure regular review of standards and test procedures, provide needed funds, and conduct vigorous oversight of the program.”

The Alliance supports legislation to:

  • Clarify DOE’s authority to set standards that best serve the public interest, including multiple specifications for a single product and standards that vary by region for climate-sensitive products;
  • Clarify that preemption of state standards applies only to products for which there is a federal standard;
  • Require regular review and update of all test procedures and standards; Adopt standards based on consensus agreements between efficiency advocates and manufacturers, and allow expedited rulemaking for DOE to issue further standards based on consensus agreements; and
  • Provide sufficient and stable funding for the program.