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House Passes the Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act

By Joshua St.Pierre posted 15 days ago

  

This week, Representative Debbie Lesko’s (AZ-08) bill titled the Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act was passed out of the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote. House Republicans were joined by seven Democrats that voted in favor of Lesko’s legislation. 

The bill would make much-needed changes to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), the law from which the Department of Energy (DOE) derives its authority to promulgate minimum efficiency standards for home appliances like gas stoves, gas furnaces, gas water heaters, etc. Public gas systems across the United States have been on the receiving end of the onslaught of unreasonable and unjustified minimum efficiency standards set by the Biden Administration’s DOE. These proposed standards would, in some cases, result in de facto bans on certain gas-fueled products that Americans trust to reliably and affordably cook their food, heat their homes, dry their clothes, etc. Reforms like these included in the Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act will protect public gas utilities and enable them to continue to meet the energy needs of millions of American energy consumers. They will also protect against efforts within the federal government to force fuel-switching which often means higher costs for consumers and less efficient energy.

If enacted, the legislation would clarify provisions in EPCA and prevent the DOE from prescribing any new or amended energy efficiency standards that are not explicitly technologically feasible and economically justified. More clearly, the bill would make three general changes:

  • Raises the energy savings threshold that DOE must abide by in setting minimum standards for appliances; either a 10 percent reduction in energy or water usage or a reduction of overall energy usage in the country of over thirty quads over a 30-year period. 
  • Requires a new or amended minimum standard to provide real cost-savings to consumers.
  • Prevents the federal government from banning any household appliance based on the fuel it uses. 

APGA sent a letter in support of this legislation at the end of 2023 urging Congress to move swiftly and pass this bill out of committee. Read the letter here. While it is encouraging to see bipartisan support for this effort in the House, the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate and, if passed in that chamber, a grim fate with President Biden. APGA staff will continue to advocate on behalf of public gas utilities for these much-needed reforms and will now turn our attention to rallying support in the Senate. 

For questions on this article, please contact Josh St.Pierre of APGA staff by phone at 202-407-0015 or by email at jstpierre@apga.org.

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