Editors Blog

Murphy's Law: Get Out The Vote

November 27, 2007

This week there is legislation being voted on by the U.S. Congress which, if passed, could create a patchwork of regional or state standards for air conditioning and heat pump equipment efficiencies. The NEWS has written about this before, but the blog today is because the timetable has been moved up. This bill wasn’t expected to be up for a vote until mid-December, but it has been moved up because somebody on Capitol Hill wants to feel good about serving the interests of their constituencies - just before the holiday break.

Little do these legislators know what evil lurks behind their efforts. But, a number of states are pushing the envelope and the Fed is trying to catch up. At first glance, consumers will believe higher efficiency appliances are a good thing. On the surface they are. Dig a little deeper. Prices go up, so consumers initially seek to pay less when no return on investment is obvious. One way to pay less is to repair rather than replace the old stuff. It’s not great for long-term efficiency, but with a slumping economy in the shadows, it’s a pretty good bet for a lot of consumers.

But, the fact of the matter is: I like higher efficiency equipment being forced down the industry’s throat - if it is uniform and consistent across the country. What I don’t like is the possibility of major inventory control problems and higher prices because of proposed legislation that requires multiple products across the country. Where is the consistency in that?

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