BOSTON, MA — More than 100 advocacy groups and over 18,000 citizens have sent comments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to ask that a 13 SEER efficiency standard, rather than the proposed 12 SEER, be implemented for central air conditioners and heat pumps, according to Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

He reported that consumer, environmental, public health, and low-income advocacy groups joined Goodman Manufacturing, utility companies, and several states in submitting comments to the DOE. Public input on the change to the standard was due by Oct. 19. Jack Jacobson of Morgan Meguire, government relations consultant to Goodman, remarked that the previous high for citizen comments to the DOE was approximately 1,000 people.

After several years of deliberation and review, the Clinton administration finalized a 13-SEER standard in January 2001, just before Clinton left office. The incoming Bush administration then proposed to withdraw it and establish 12 SEER as the new standard.

“This proposed rollback is a grave mistake,” stated Kit Kennedy, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Weakening the standard would be harmful to the environment and consumers.” The 12 SEER proposal has been challenged in court by the NRDC, Consumer Federation of America, Public Utility Law Project, and the states of California, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.

Publication date: 10/29/2001