The Biden administration’s energy department has plans to regulate a wide range of appliances used by Americans under the agency’s evolving “energy conservation standards.”
According to the semiannual Unified Agenda, a list prepared by federal agencies detailing the regulations they plan to undertake within the next 12 months, the Department of Energy (DOE) will be pushing ahead with proposals to regulate several more appliances in the United States.
The latest Unified Agenda list is not absolute but offers an insightful peek into the federal agencies’ outlook for American consumers moving forward.
"Consumers aren't going to like any of it. These rules are almost always bad for consumers for the simple reason that they restrict consumer choice.
"Anybody who wants to choose the more eco-friendly versions of appliances is always free to do so. But these rules force that choice on everyone, whether it makes sense for them or not," Lieberman added.
The Restriction ListHere are some of the home and commercial appliances and equipment targeted by the DOE, as revealed in the Unified Agenda Spring 2023 list.
- Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pumps
- Direct Heating Equipment
- Walk-In Coolers and Freezers
- Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
- Consumer Water Heaters
- Automatic Commercial Ice Makers
- Ceiling Fan Light Kits
- Commercial and Industrial Pumps
- Electric Motors
- Furnace Fans
- Refrigerated Bottled or Canned Beverage Vending Machines
- Water-Sourced Commercial Heat Pumps
- Consumer Boilers
- Ceiling Fans
- Consumer Furnaces
- Portable Electric Spas
- Fans and Blowers
- Miscellaneous Gas Products
- Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures
- Air Cleaners
- Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts
- Residential Conventional Cooking Products
- Residential Non-Weatherized Gas Furnaces and Mobile Home Gas Furnaces
- Commercial Water Heating-Equipment
- Consumer Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers, and Freezers
- Consumer Clothes Washers
- Clothes Dryers
- Microwave Ovens
- Distribution Transformers
- Single Package Vertical Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
- Computer Room Air Conditioners
- Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pump Motors
- 3-Phase, Small Commercial Package Air Conditioning and Heating Equipment With a Cooling Capacity of Less Than 65,000 Btu/h
- Small Electric Motors
- General Service Lamps
The DOE and Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm justify their new efficiency standards by projecting consumer savings.
“At the direction of Congress, DOE is continuing to review and finalize energy standards for household appliances, such as residential furnaces, to lower costs for working families by reducing energy use and slashing harmful pollutants in homes across the nation,” Ms. Granholm said late last month while the department finalized efficiency rules for residential furnaces.
The agency estimates that its standards for residential furnaces would save Americans “$1.5 Billion in annual utility bills.”
Opposition to CrackdownIn recent months. lawmakers and multiple organizations have expressed opposition to the Biden administration’s encroachment on appliance use of Americans.
In June, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced the “Save Our Gas Stoves Act” to prohibit the DOE from implementing costly standards on kitchen stovetops.
“At a time when families across Nebraska are concerned about high inflation and the southern border crisis, Washington bureaucrats are considering whether to cancel gas stoves. It’s ridiculous,” she said at the time.
“The 38 percent of the American people who have a gas stove or range don’t need more of the federal government intruding into their lives.”
“This rule includes numerous flaws, from the procedural and legal errors to the test procedures. It is ill-conceived, analytically unsupportable, and anti-consumer, and it should not stand.”
The proposal “could lead to higher costs for consumers and create unintended consequences of more safety concerns of fires and burns, as we do not believe that the CPSC has adequately evaluated the safety hazards of their newly proposed rule.”
“We are currently in a period of hot summer weather but also a time of high inflation. It is unconscionable that your department would seek to limit the options of the American people to stay cool in their own homes at a time like this,” she wrote in an Aug. 25 letter to Energy Secretary Ms. Granholm.
Ms. Bice also criticized the Energy Department’s other proposed rules to regulate appliances like water heaters and gas stoves as a “significant overreach of the federal government.” Such “heavy-handed regulations” would drive up prices, limit consumer choice, and impose burdens on many small businesses, she added.