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Trump Rollback of Lighting Rules Will Cost Consumers Billions

DOE’s Attack on Energy Efficiency Standards is Simply Wrong

Washington, D.C. – At today’s Department of Energy public hearing, Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, indicated that the DOE proposal to withdraw rules for certain lighting products would cost consumers $12 billion.

“The Trump Administration has been on an all-out assault on efficiency standards that save consumers money and help grow our economy,” Cooper said.  “Our analysis shows that this is the single most important consumer pocketbook issue facing regulatory policymakers.”

CFA Highlights Benefits of Efficiency Standards, Why the Proposal Should be Withdrawn

Cooper made the following points in his testimony today:

  1. Consumers have benefited enormously from appliance efficiency standards. We estimate that past standards have saved consumers $750 billion dollars, net of technology costs and environmental benefits. Current standards will save them an equal amount, raising the benefit to consumers of standards already on the books and implemented to $1.5 trillion.
  2. Consumers are well aware and understand that, even though standards may increase the cost of energy consuming durables goods (like light bulbs, refrigerators, air conditioners and computers), the value of energy savings vastly exceeds the cost. As a result, our public opinion polling shows that they overwhelmingly support standards.
  3. To the extent that standards affect energy consuming durable goods that are used in the commercial and industrial sectors, standards are a consumer issue, as well. Consumers ultimately pay for the energy wasted in production through the prices they pay for goods and services.
  4. Because these standards are good for consumers, the economy, and the environment, statutes have been adopted to require beneficial standards to be adopted for a wide range of energy consuming goods and services, some under the authority of the Department of Energy, others under authority granted to the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. In many cases the, attack on efficiency standards launched by the current administration violates those statutes. In some cases, the attack on efficiency also violates the Administrative Procedure Act.  In all cases, the effort to roll back energy efficiency standards is immoral. The efforts should be rejected by policymakers, as they will be rejected by the public.
  5. We describe the approach to standards being implemented across all agencies in light of the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act, as “command-but-not-control.” The standards set a goal, but allow the industry to achieve that goal in the least cost manner possible.  Our analysis of standards has identified key characteristics that ensure the least cost, most beneficial approach to meeting standards.  They should be (1) technology and (2) product neutral, setting moderately (3) aggressive and progressive targets that are responsive to the needs of (4) consumers and (5) producers.  This ensures that they (6) unleash market forces of competition and innovation around the standard.

CFA is urging DOE to withdraw its proposal affecting certain lighting products that would hurt consumers and the economy and plans to submit more in-depth comments to DOE by the April 12, 2019 deadline.

The full statement can be found here.

Contact: Mark Cooper, 301-807-1623; Mel Hall-Crawford, 805-245-0523