APGA Responds to DOE’s NOSPIR Pertaining to Separate Product Classes

By Renée Lani posted 11-12-2020 12:23 PM

On November 9, APGA submitted joint comments in response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) notice of supplemental proposed interpretive rule (NOSPIR) and request for comment re: energy conservation standards (ECS) for residential furnaces and commercial water heaters. The comments request that DOE take prompt action to publish a final and appropriate response to the 2018 Gas Industry Petition, while also noting additional considerations that should be taken into account only after the petition is appropriately responded to and the individual appliance rulemakings resume. With its comments, APGA hopes for the agency to quickly finalize its initial proposed finding that separate product classes for certain gas-fired appliances are required, which would ensure the continued availability of non-condensing technology.

The still pending petition, to which APGA was a signatory, requested two things of DOE:

1. Issue an interpretive rule stating that DOE’s proposed ECSs for residential furnaces and commercial water heaters would result in the unavailability of ‘‘performance characteristics’’ within the meaning of the applicable law; and,
2. Withdraw the proposed ECSs in question.

After receiving comments on the petition in 2018, DOE released a notice of proposed interpretive rule (NOPIR) in 2019 for public comment, in which it granted the petition in part and denied it in part: the agency interpreted the statute to provide that adoption of ECSs that would limit the market to gas furnaces, water heaters, or similarly situated products/equipment that use condensing combustion technology would result in the unavailability of a performance related feature within the meaning of the law but refused to revoke the proposed ECSs. Since then, DOE has issued the recent NOSPIR that requested comments on a narrow topic: the possibility of using a more involved class structure with respect to developing appropriate product classes for certain gas-fired appliances’ ECSs.

In addition to APGA, the signatories to the joint comments are the American Gas Association (AGA), Spire, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association (PHCC).

A copy of the joint comments in response to the NOSPIR can be found here. For questions on this article or APGA’s engagement with DOE, please contact Renée Lani of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-0836 or by email at rlani@apga.org.