DOE’s Proposed Furnace Standard Will Place Undue Burden on Customers
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a notice of proposed rulemaking for Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces that will effectively ban cost-effective and efficient natural gas furnaces that customers rely on today for affordable heat by requiring all natural gas furnaces to use condensing technology to achieve a 95 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency standard. The American Gas Association (AGA) says that this move will place an undue burden on customers.
“AGA will thoroughly examine every aspect of this proposed rule and if it is another attempt to put the natural gas industry out of business, we will vigorously object,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “At this moment when natural gas is imperative for our country's and the world's stability, placing enormous costs on everyday Americans is wrong-headed at best.”
Many older homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, cannot accommodate the expensive venting requirements for a condensing furnace. These customers would be forced to switch to an electric furnace. DOE announced in March that natural gas is 3.4 times more affordable than electricity.
“It is not as simple as replacing the natural gas furnaces on the market today with natural gas furnaces that are 95 percent efficient,” Harbert continued. “They are not the same piece of equipment and we have explained this to the Department of Energy many times. The natural gas industry is working every day on implementing solutions to achieve our cleaner energy goals, and without question there is a better and more inclusive way to make appliances more efficient.”
“If the goal of the Department of Energy is to lower emissions, we are all-in, and we have a plan that can achieve our ambitious climate goals through smart innovation, new and modernized infrastructure, and advanced technologies that maintain reliable, resilient, and affordable energy service choices for consumers,” Harbert said.
- Natural gas utilities invest $4.3 million per day in energy efficiency programs to help customers install tighter-fitting windows and doors, upgrade insulation and purchase increasingly more efficient natural gas appliances.
- Carbon dioxide emissions from residences using natural gas for space heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying are about 22 percent lower than those attributable to an all-electric home and decline 1.2% per year.
- The natural gas delivery system is 91 percent efficient from production to customer whereas the electric delivery system’s efficiency is 36 percent.
AGA has released a bold vision for the future along with a seminal analysis detailing how America’s natural gas, natural gas utilities and delivery infrastructure will be essential to meeting our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, including achieving net-zero emissions.
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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 73 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than thirty percent of the United States' energy needs.