AGA Responds to Furnace SNOPR

News Release September 03, 2016

Negative Impacts for Consumers, Environment, Economy

Washington, D.C. – Dave McCurdy, President and CEO for the American Gas Association (AGA) today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces:

“AGA is profoundly disappointed that DOE has blatantly ignored well-substantiated concerns expressed by numerous stakeholders, including natural gas utilities, during the past three years of continued discussions about these energy conservation standards for residential furnaces.”

“Throughout this process, AGA has brought a rigorous, fact-based approach to our engagement on this rulemaking. We have identified serious structural flaws and have worked consistently to underscore the negative consequences of these flaws, but time and time again these concerns have been put aside—it is now more clear than ever that the Administration is more focused on political expedience over technical accuracy. DOE’s own analysis, released in a technical support document that preceded the proposed rule, showed that its rule would cause economic harm to significant fractions of low income consumers, particularly in the southern United States. So it seems DOE agrees that the people who will ultimately bear the costs of the Obama Administration’s short-sightedness are some of the nation’s most vulnerable.

“As we have previously indicated, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces issued in March 2015 would have unintended environmental consequences and impose significant economic burdens on American consumers, while providing substantially lower actual energy savings than indicated by the DOE technical support documents. This is likely due to a significant flaw in the economic model used to test the rule, which has led to faulty outcomes and an inaccurate depiction of its impact.”

“The rule will have the effect of eliminating workable options for gas furnaces for many homeowners and renters, who will be forced to make hard choices about whether to repair an existing gas furnace beyond recommended operation, or to use more expensive alternatives that are far less clean for their home heating. If we do not see major changes to this proposed rule before it is finalized, AGA will absolutely look for recourse in the courts and we are fairly certain we will not be the only organization to do so.”

The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 76 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 72 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than thirty percent of the United States' energy needs.