AGA: DOE’s Proposed Rule is Ill-Conceived, Analytically Unsupportable and Anti-Consumer
Washington, DC – AGA Chief Regulatory Counsel for Energy, Matthew J. Agen, today testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs. In the hearing, “Consumer Choice on the Backburner: Examining the Biden Administration’s Regulatory Assault on Americans’ Gas Stoves,” Agen outlined the natural gas industry’s commitment to the environment and the economy and detailed concerns with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Proposed Cooking Products Rule, which could impact more than half of new gas stoves sold in the U.S.
The comments outline the flaws in the proposed rule, including:
- Eliminating 50% of the total market and 96% of the market for desirable cooktops makes gas cooktops—particularly those with features most desirable to consumers, such as high input burners and a continuous cast-iron grate—unavailable in violation of EPCA.
- As part of this process, stakeholders have had to plea for more time and information from DOE, which is in opposition of DOE’s own process rule and the Administrative Procedure Act requiring that stakeholders have a meaningful opportunity for comment on rulemakings.
- DOE issued a notice concerning the petition to use alternative testing procedures after the comment period had closed, confirming it was aware that there were substantial concerns with the test procedure that were unresolved upon issuing the Proposed Cooking Products Rule.
- DOE’s procedure tests only one task: simmering specified quantities of water. Electric cooktops determine pot and water quantities based on the footprint of the coil, while gas cooktops use Btu content, resulting in the amount of water being tested on a gas burner being 58% to 106% higher than the amount tested for a comparable electric cooktop. This is not an equal or comparable test.
“The natural gas industry is invested in the communities it serves and has a proven track record of driving down emissions and delivering reliable energy to its customers, no matter the circumstances,” said AGA President and CEO, Karen Harbert. “We cannot say the same of DOE as we watch predetermined bias being used to achieve misinformed and politically motivated outcomes over pragmatic solutions. 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.”
In his comments, Agen stated: “The natural gas industry is ready, willing, and able to support cost-effective, consumer-friendly efficiency measures that are economically justified and technologically feasible. Unfortunately, DOE’s proposal is an attempt to remove a large portion of natural gas cooking products from the market. The proposal would remove popular features from gas cooktops such as cast-iron grates and high input power burners. This is one of many attempts by DOE to limit customer access to gas appliances, such as DOE’s proposal to remove a large number of gas furnaces from the market. DOE’s Proposed Rule is not an energy efficiency measure, it is an improper effort to remove gas appliances from the market in violation of EPCA that would only result in nominal energy and costs savings.”
“AGA has requested that DOE rescind the Proposed Cooking Products Rule. Once DOE addresses the critical and material issues with the proposal and the test procedures, AGA encourages DOE and stakeholders to develop a solutions-oriented approach to energy conservation that ensures any proposed minimum efficiency standards for cooktops reduce energy use, protect consumers, and preserve natural gas cooking products with the utility and features that customers desire and need.”