Questions Remains Over DOE Waivers for Residential Water Heaters
Mar 26, 2013
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The Department of Energy (DOE) held a public meeting in March on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to establish a waiver process that will allow the production of residential electric storage water heaters of more than 55 gallons after April 16, 2015.

The industry was concerned that a new amended minimum efficiency standard for residential electric water heaters, going into effect in April 2015, will make large-volume electric water heaters unavailable for electric thermal storage (ETS) programs. Such programs allow water heaters to operate only during off-peak periods and often supply electricity generated by renewable energy.

A number of co-operative electric utilities attended the meeting in support of the waiver, but objected to conditions proposed by DOE for obtaining a waiver.

There were also objections to DOE’s decision to not create a distinct product class for the water heaters used in off-peak programs.

Industry association the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute took no official position on the NOPR. However, AHRI did point out that DOE standards apply to the manufacturers of the products—not utility company users—and asked how there could, therefore, be exceptions for utilities.

"Based on the discussion that occurred at the meeting, it seems likely that DOE will have to revise this NOPR significantly before the rulemaking is completed," AHRI reported in its latest AHRI Update.

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