AHRI Seeks EPCA Reforms

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The President and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration institute or AHRI, Stephen Yurek, appealed to Congress to amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA). EPCA is the law that regulates product energy efficiency standards. Yurek told the members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power that the present law, which is almost 40 years old, has not been modified to keep up with the new technologies and economic situations.

Achrnews reported that according to Yurek, consumers are paying a high price for both real monetary costs and in comfort and safety due to the continuous cycle of U.S. Department of Energy rulemakings that result in higher and higher energy efficiency levels. Yurek said, “When new equipment costs more than consumers can afford, they find alternatives, some of which compromise their comfort and safety, while saving less energy or no energy at all.” He also informed the members of the subcommittee that although the Clinton administration had six major efficiency rules over eight years, the present administration has issued eight rules in 2014 alone.

He also cited various examples of rulemakings wherein job losses were forecast stating, “American jobs are being lost – many of them exported – in part of ever more stringent efficiency regulations.” He also gave examples of what he coined as “unrealistic assumptions” made by DOE to support rules, which he said, were not “economically justified for consumers,” including a proposed rule for commercial packaged boilers that would save just 8/10ths of a percent more energy than the current standard, while making manufacturers spend up to $24 million to implement.

In order to solve the predicament, Yurek appealed to Congress to require DOE to gather stakeholders in a meeting to discuss and suggest a new regulatory framework that would emphasize flexibility and improved technical and economic justifications for amended or new rules while also utilizing transparency and stakeholder engagement.

In the concluding part of his speech, Yurek said, “Finally, Chairman Whitfield, Ranking Member Rush, and members of the Subcommittee, as I stated earlier, the ideas presented in my testimony are not the only possible solutions to fixing, changing, or modernizing the regulatory process. They are, however, ideas that should be considered and discussed among all affected stakeholders. AHRI wants to be open and candid with Congress, allied trade associations, efficiency advocates, and the Department of Energy on ways we can all work together to fix and update this almost 40-year-old law. We call on all stakeholders to join us and work together to craft an updated regulatory scheme that meets the needs of the current and future market while achieving the nation’s efficiency goals.”

AHRI’s website states that it is a trade association that represents manufacturers of HVACR and water heating equipment within the global industry. It has 315 member companies that manufacture quality, efficient, and innovative commercial and residential air conditioning, space heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment and components for sale around the world. The organization aims, on behalf of its members, to ensure that the members’ interests are included in final drafts of legislation.

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