Backsliding on Efficiency: A Retreat to a New (Old) Air Conditioner Standard

May 22, 2002
12:00 AM
“Astonishingly, just days after celebrating the first anniversary of the release of its national energy policy, the Bush Administration today weakened a major efficiency standard for air conditioners. This rollback not only discounts input that the Administration received on this matter – including from its own EPA – it also is another example of how out-of-step this Administration appears to be when it comes to energy policy and public sentiment. “Common sense tells you that more efficient appliances should be an important part of a national energy strategy. An efficient air conditioner cools a house as well as a less efficient one, uses less electricity and saves money. Especially now, with our nation at war and Americans worried about energy security, the Administration should be doing everything it can to encourage the efficient use of energy...not backsliding from one of the more effective ways to save energy. “It’s ironic that the Administration announced this decision just as we are entering the warmer months. Last summer, a nationwide heat wave in August led to brownouts and blackouts as our electricity system was stretched to its limits. While the more stringent air conditioner standard would take place gradually, over the long term, it would help reduce the peak demand for electricity on very hot days, and it would give consumers a break. “It’s clear from the thousands of comments that the Department of Energy received that the public does not want to see the better standard watered down. It’s disconcerting that the Administration listened more to industry lobbyists than it did to average Americans.” # # #