APGA Weekly Update September 1, 2016

09-01-2016 12:10

APGA Weekly Update, September 1, 2016
APGA and Others Express Support for Furnace Language in Energy Bill
On August 31, APGA and nine other industry groups, including the American Gas Association and AirConditioning,
Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) sent a letter to energy bill conferees expressing
support for the furnace language that was included in the Senate-passed energy bill. The House passed
its version of comprehensive energy legislation in December 2015 and the Senate passed its version in
April 2016. Both the House and Senate bill included language addressing the proposed furnace rule
promulgated by the Department of Energy (DOE). However, over the past year, the House language has
become obsolete as this language would only delay DOE action on a rule until July 2016.
By contrast, the furnace language in the Senate bill would prohibit DOE from prescribing a final natural
gas furnace rule until DOE convenes a representative advisory group of interested stakeholders,
including, among others, manufacturers, distributors, contractors, home builders, energy efficiency
advocates, natural gas utilities, electric utilities, and consumer groups. Then, within one year of
enactment of this legislation, that advisory group must complete an analysis of a nationwide
requirement of a condensing furnace efficiency standard including: a complete analysis of current
market trends regarding the transition of sales from non-condensing furnaces to condensing furnaces;
the projected net loss in the industry of the present value of original equipment manufactured after
adoption of the standard; the projected consumer payback period and life cycle cost savings; a
determination of whether the standard is economically justified; and, other common economic
principles. The advisory group, after completing the analysis, would be required to make a
determination as to whether a nationwide requirement of a condensing furnace efficiency standard is
technically feasible and economically justified and that determination would be published in the Federal
Register. Should the advisory group determine that a nationwide requirement of a condensing furnace
efficiency standard is not technically feasible and economically justified, DOE is required to, within 180
days from the date the determination is published in the Federal Register, establish amended standards
through a negotiated rulemaking process.
In the letter, APGA and the other groups communicate that the furnace language in the Senate energy
bill, “Is necessary to ensure that DOE commits to working with all stakeholders to achieve an efficiency
standard that meets environmental and economic goals without penalizing families and businesses.”
The letter also states that the, “Proposed DOE rule will cause an unnatural disruption in the market,
pushing many residential customers, particularly those in warmer climates or older buildings, to repair
older, less efficient home heating products.”
The letter was sent to the seven Senate conferees and 40 House conferees that have been tasked with
resolving differences between the two bills. It is very unlikely that work on the energy bill will be
completed prior to Congress departing for the November elections. If Congress is going to complete
action on an energy bill and send it to the President, that action will most likely occur during a lame duck
session after the elections. A copy of the letter referenced in this article is available on the APGA
website at www.apga.org. For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by
phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at dschryver@apga.org.
APGA and AGA Comment on Commercial Water Heating Equipment Standards
On August 30, APGA and the American Gas Association submitted joint comments to the Department of
Energy (DOE) on their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Energy Conservation Standards for
Commercial Water Heating Equipment. DOE is proposing to require condensing technology for natural
gas storage at 95 percent thermal efficiency, and 94/95 percent thermal efficiency for instantaneous gas
water heaters. These efficiency levels would ban all non-condensing commercial gas water heaters.
Additionally and from a competitive perspective, DOE is proposing minimal increases in standby losses
for electric commercial water heaters and essentially no increase in efficiency requirements for
commercial oil water heaters. The comments focused on:
 The need for DOE to finalize any changes to the testing procedures prior to proposing any
changes to the energy efficiency standard, pointing out that on the day comments are due on
the proposed energy efficiency standard for commercial water heaters, DOE publishes a
Supplemental Test Procedure NOPR on the same pieces of equipment;
 Multiple technical flaws;
 DOE’s failure to do a fuel switching analysis;
 The need for separate product classes;
 The need to incorporate full-fuel-cycle analyses into DOE’s energy conservation standards
program, recognizing that different appliance fuels have an impact on total energy consumption
and environmental emissions on a full-fuel-cycle basis; and,
 The importance of the final rule not applying to residential-duty gas-fired commercial storage
water heaters.
Regarding the last point, DOE is exceeding its authority by including proposed minimum efficiency
standards for a declared product class on residential-duty gas-fired storage commercial water heaters in
this commercial water heating equipment minimum efficiency standards rulemaking.
For questions on this article, please contact Dan Lapato of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by
email at dlapato@apga.org.
Celebrate Public Natural Gas Week!
APGA invites its members to take part in the annual, national tradition of Public Natural Gas Week
(PNGW). PNGW is a nationwide observance that offers the perfect opportunity for you to showcase
your public natural gas system and generate enthusiasm about the benefits of public natural gas. This
year, PNGW will be October 2-8.
We hope that all APGA member utilities join us in this nationwide observance to honor the work and
importance of locally-owned public natural gas systems. The American Public Gas Association is here to
help you plan and promote your system’s PNGW celebrations.
Many APGA members do a wonderful job preparing promotional events and campaigns each year. For
additional ideas, we encourage you to download sample materials that include a stock press release, oped,
design templates and suggestions for events to celebrate the week in your community. We hope you
find these materials helpful and that together we make 2016 Public Natural Gas Week one of the best
Access the materials mentioned above at www.apga.org/PNGW. For questions on PNGW or to share
how your system plans to celebrate the week, please contact Audrey Anderson of APGA staff by phone
at 202-464-2742 or by email at aanderson@apga.org.
EIA Reports Storage Increase of 51 Bcf to Put Working Gas Storage at 3,401 Bcf
Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, September 1, 2016, which reports the
week’s storage report highlights for Friday, August 26, 2016. A 51 Bcf increase has been reported.
Working gas in storage was 3,401 Bcf as of Friday, August 26, 2016, according to EIA estimates. This
represents a net increase of 51 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 238 Bcf higher than last year at
this time and 334 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,067 Bcf. At 3,401 Bcf, total working gas is above
the five-year historical range.

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