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Consumer Reports Testimony to call on Congress to Stop Administration Rollbacks, Start Helping Consumers Cut Home Energy Bills

David Friedman, Vice President of Advocacy for Consumer Reports, to deliver testimony at House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing, “Wasted Energy: DOE’s Inaction on Efficiency Standards and Its Impact on Consumers and the Climate,” on March 7.

WASHINGTON, DC – David Friedman, Vice President of Advocacy for Consumer Reports, will testify on Thursday, March 7, for the House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on home appliance efficiency standards and their impact on consumers and climate. The hearing comes as the Department of Energy continues to miss legal deadlines for updating efficiency standards.

Mr. Friedman is a former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (2015-16) and Acting Assistant Secretary (2016-17) for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, where he was engaged on appliance and equipment standards, among other matters. According to DOE’s own data, by 2030 Americans will have saved nearly $2 trillion on their utility bills since 1987, when Consumer Reports worked with a coalition of consumer advocates in a successful federal lawsuit that resulted in the DOE finally following Congressional requirements to set standards. Consumers stand to save even more money when the standards are updated in the future.

“The cheapest energy is the energy you will never use thanks to energy efficiency,” says David Friedman. “Appliance and equipment standards have dramatically cut Americans’ energy bills, even as home appliances have expanded their features and improved their performance. Rather than continue to stall on or roll back standards, the Department of Energy should build on the progress that has been made by empowering its staff to complete the standard-setting process in a timely, transparent, and data-driven way,, and thoroughly justified assessments as required by law and are squarely in the interest of every American consumer.”

Important impacts of the appliance efficiency standards:

  • As a result of these standards, American consumers saved $63 billion on their utility bills in 2015, according to the DOE. For example, a typical new refrigerator uses one-quarter the energy than in 1973, while offering 20% more storage capacity and being available at half the retail cost, according to the DOE.
  • By 2030, cumulative utility bill savings from all standards in effect since 1987 will reach nearly $2 trillion, according to DOE’s analysis. This means that a typical household saves about $321 per year off their energy bills as a result of standards, according to the DOE.
  • Future benefits that could be achieved under the current law and administrative approach have been estimated to be over $720 billion in consumer pocketbook savings at a cost of less than $240 billion. Including the indirect macroeconomic benefits of almost $500 billion results in a grand total of over $1.2 trillion and a benefit-cost ratio of 5-to-1, according to a study by the Consumer Federation of America.
  • A plan by the current administration to roll back the scope of Congressionally-established lighting efficiency standards set to go forward in 2020 would not only encounter several costly lawsuits, but could cost consumers up to $100/year per household starting in 2025, according to ACEEE estimates.
  • A plan by the current administration to add red tape to DOE’s standard-setting process could delay or eliminate the agency’s ability to set standards for products that today cover up to 40% of household energy use.

Mr. Friedman’s written testimony to the committee is online here.

The hearing, “Wasted Energy: DOE’s Inaction on Efficiency Standards and Its Impact on Consumers and the Climate” is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 7. For more information, and to view the hearing, please visit the Energy Subcommittee website.