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DOE Allows Look at Regional Standards, Seeks to Improve Regulatory

The Department of Energy has recently released a Framework document about regional standards before an official enforcement proposal is released this month. The DOE also is seeking requests for information about ways to make the regulatory program more effective.

The Framework document regarding enforcement of the newly installed regional standards is intended to provide stakeholders with an idea of what the DOE may have in mind and allow for discussion, before an official enforcement proposal is released this month.

The DOE has stated that the effective dates (May 1, 2013 for furnaces and Jan. 1, 2015 for air-conditioners) are installation bans, therefore eliminating “Grandfather” provisions that have marked previous standards increases and leaving distributors to liquidate inventory before the effective date or risk it being
stranded.

Additionally, the DOE has laid out three different enforcement approaches that it is considering. All three approaches put unprecedented burdens on distributors and clearly represent why HARDI opposed this regulation in the first place, according to HARDI.

  • The “least invasive” proposal would mandate distributors to inform the purchaser of equipment of the regional standards and require a signature from the contractor that would indicate they understand the regional standards. This letter would then be kept under file by distributors.
  • A second option would require the distributor to track serial numbers of equipment sold to contractors and maintain those records in the event of an audit by the federal government.
  • The most aggressive proposal would require distributors to track serial number, installer, and installation location information for units sold and to submit the information on a regular basis or face penalty.

In other DOE news, the department published a Federal Register notice on Dec. 5, 2011, requesting input from stakeholders on ways the regulatory program could become more effective and less burdensome on the industry while still achieving its objectives.

Specifically, the notice seeks comments and information from interested parties to assist the DOE in reviewing its existing regulations to determine if any should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed. AHRI will submit comments before the Jan. 4, 2012, deadline.

For more information about HARDI’s stance on the regional standards, visit www.hardinet.org. For more information about AHRI’s submission to the DOE, visit www.ahri.org.

 
 
 
 
 
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