Stakes Raised in Debt Ceiling Debate

While no headway has been made on a debt ceiling extension, congressional leaders are meeting at the White House daily to attempt to resolve differences on a long term deal with the sticking points remaining to be taxes and entitlement spending.  But, it appears both branches of government and both political parties are getting the message on the importance to the country and economy on increasing the debt limit.  It is also clear that an agreement can only be enacted with support from both political parties.  AHAM joined with several other manufacturing associations including the National Association of Manufacturers in writing a letter to all members of congress and the president to urge them to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling before the August 2 deadline.  We stressed that increased borrowing costs for the federal government influence the cost of manufacturing and home ownership.  Importantly, we also urged our political leaders to agree to a plan to substantially reduce the country’s long-term budget deficits with a goal of at least stabilizing our nation’s debt as a percentage of GDP.

AHAM and Efficiency Organizations Call on EPA and DOE to Recognize Smart Appliances

Following Wednesday’s release of a joint DOE/FERC National Action Plan calling for a national forum to jump start the development of demand-response programs that could significantly reduce electricity usage during periods of high demand, AHAM is urging DOE and the EPA to adopt a petition submitted to the ENERGY STAR program in December 2010 by AHAM, NRDC, and several efficiency and consumer organizations, coordinated by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), to recognize the benefits of smart appliances and hasten development of the smart grid. 

The AHAM petition supports the Administration’s smart grid goals, is widely supported, and is a no-cost measure that DOE and EPA can take on a national scale to recognize the benefits of demand response capable and smart home appliances. 

The petition urges the ENERGY STAR program to incorporate a five percent allowance to the energy performance level required to meet ENERGY STAR eligibility criteria for smart-grid enabled appliances as soon as possible.  The incorporation of this incentive for smart grid enabled appliances will increase the deployment of these energy saving products across the country.

“This petition recognizes the opportunity for smart appliances to contribute to energy efficiency and the smart grid.  An allowance of five percent is an important incentive for manufacturers to produce smart appliances and the data show that smart grid enabled appliances can deliver a greater benefit to the American consumer than the five percent request,?? Joseph M. McGuire, AHAM President 

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than four percent annually by 2030. 

A cost/benefit analysis by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the US Department of Energy (DOE) accompanied the petition, and determined that the annual benefits from having smart grid capabilities in an appliance are greater than the costs of an equivalent five percent increase in operational machine efficiencies.

Specifically, if a consumer chooses, a smart grid enabled appliance will be able to receive a signal from a utility and automatically adjust its operation to move its electricity use to a better and less expensive time of day.  PNNL’s analysis found that smart appliances can be a significant and cleaner alternative to today’s “spinning reserves,?? which are power plants that are a required to be “idling?? and are a wasteful, but necessary, part of today’s electrical grid.

Visit to download the petition to the ENERGY STAR program, and for a link to the US DOE cost/ benefit analysis on smart grid enabled appliances.

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