Still in the philosophy that they should be able to control what kind of kitchen stove American citizens can use, The Department of Energy is maintaining a grip on gas cooktops regulation, although loosening them somewhat following loud public outcry.
Ostensibly in the name of energy-efficiency, DOE published efficiency requirements for gas stoves so stringent that they would have been impractical for most consumers. Following strong public push-back, the agency is slightly loosening the BTU limits after reviewing data submitted by a trade association and a utility company,
Much of the media denounced concerns from the public about the government banning gas stoves, calling them conspiracy theorists, but the agency did publish a notice calling for new regulations which would have limited BTU consumption to 1,204, down from a baseline of 1,775 British thermal units, or kBtu per year. The proposal is so impractical that for all purposes it outlaws the stoves.
More recently, in a notice of data availability published in the Federal Register, DOE floated less stringent efficiency requirements for gas stoves, increasing them slightly to a limit of 1,343 kBtu per year, down from a recalculated baseline of 1,900 kBtu per year.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and PG&E provided the DOE with data on cooktops with higher consumption rates, which the agency had not used in its initial efficiency testing.
According to POLITICO, “Other comments led DOE ‘to better understand’ what features consumers want in a gas stove, including multiple high input rate burners and continuous cast-iron grates.”
Manufacturers would be required to spend more than $2.5 billion to comply with the originally proposed rules, according to the DOE’s own estimates, and consumers would save just 12.5 cents a month in energy costs.
The mandates would have been so strict as to make 96 percent of gas stoves on the market noncompliant.
In June the House passed the Save Our Gas Stoves Act, which would prevent the DOE from advancing its unworkable stove requirements.
The National Association of Manufacturers has held high-level discussions with policymakers on the importance of feasibility, affordability and consumer choice in rulemaking.
To that end, in June the NAM and members of the NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations and Conference of State Manufacturers Associations created the Manufacturers for Sensible Regulations, which aims to combat the recent regulatory onslaught by federal agencies.
“Manufacturers depend on regulatory clarity and certainty,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram. Throughout the year, the Department of Energy has proposed an unprecedented slew of regulations, and many were aimed at home appliances. The DOE is now taking steps toward a solution that is less likely to raise production costs significantly for manufacturers, and less likely to reduce the available features, performance and affordability for consumers.”