The regulators in Washington are at it again. Remember the “consensus” agreement on the regional efficiency standards that was hailed by some in our industry as the best way to deal with the environmentalist groups and the Department of Energy (DOE)? We knew changing to regional standards was going to be tough, but at least we had a say in the way the drafting of the language of the regulation occurred.

Unfortunately though, that all went out the window when the DOE decided on July 1 that the 90 percent AFUE furnace standard for the Northern region of the country would apply to furnaces installed in that region on or after May 1, 2013 instead of the date of manufacture which had been contemplated for the agreement. This minor change in wording by our bureaucratic friends at the DOE means manufacturers, distributors, and dealers doing business in that region are now caught between a rock and a hard place. They must start making supply and inventory decisions now instead of next year.

AHRI has petitioned Stephen Chu, secretary of energy at the DOE, requesting the compliance date be delayed until Nov. 1, 2014. Honestly, I would be shocked if the DOE granted the request. Regulators are focused on implementing regulations. They are not focused on the negative effect on thousands of small businesses trying to fight their way back from a four year business downturn.