Earlier in the year, we wrote about the withdrawal of regional energy efficiency standards (mandating installation of high efficiency furnaces in Northern states) set forth by the Department of Energy (DOE). This was based on a lawsuit brought forth by some in the energy industry, including the American Public Gas Association (APGA) and Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). We also posted a follow up with reactions to the withdrawal by some members of home energy industry.
Unfortunately, the courts have not ruled on this settlement, which may now cause problems when it comes to installation and availability of certain furnaces. Several motions in support and opposed to the settlement agreement were filed by intervening parties, or those with a stake in the outcome of this case. Before making a final ruling on the settlement, the court must hear these motions and take them into consideration. This is causing a delay in the decision making process and throwing a wrench in the normal sales, distribution, and manufacturing cycles of furnaces in regions like ours that will be impacted by the ruling.
As a reminder, the proposed settlement states that the initial plan to set the minimum AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) standards for residential indoor and mobile home gas furnaces at 90% in the Northern region, along with the pending May 1, 2013 compliance date would be vacated. However, as we stated in the reaction, the settlement had to be approved by the court in order to make it final and remove the regional efficiency standards.