"In the City Known for Hot Air, Bill Richardson Has a Cool Idea"


Thursday, September 28, 2000
9:00 a.m., EST

Andrew deLaski, ASAP, 617-363-9470 or
Bill Prindle, Alliance to Save Energy, 202-857-0666

Coalition Launches Ad Campaign for Stronger Air Conditioner Efficiency Standards

Recommendations Would Eliminate Need for Dozens of New Power Plants, Cut Pollution, Reduce Blackout Rate

BOSTON, MA -- A coalition of environmental and consumer organizations, state government and electric utilities today announced an ad campaign urging strong new central air conditioner efficiency standards. The first ad in the campaign ran today in the Washington Post.

"We're running this ad to draw attention to Energy Secretary Richardson's imminent decision on air conditioner efficiency standards," said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the coalition group. "Secretary Richardson deserves credit for his commitment to improve air conditioner efficiency," he stated.

"He has a chance to leave a legacy of fewer power outages, lower energy bills and cleaner air by making the new standard strong," said deLaski.

Air conditioners are among the largest contributors to peak power demand. In some parts of the nation including California, New York and Chicago, record peak demand has caused power outages in recent summers. In areas like Southern California and southeastern New York where electricity has been deregulated, consumers have seen skyrocketing demand drive up the cost of their electricity.

"Anything less than a 30% improvement in the air conditioner standard sells consumers and the environment short," said Bill Prindle, director buildings and utilities programs for the Washington-based Alliance to Save Energy. "Our strained power systems need every megawatt of savings that we can get."

The government is considering increasing the standard by between 20% and 30%. The difference between a 20% improvement and the 30% level recommended by the coalition would be:

  • 16,700 MW in peak power reductions (earlier this month in California the state's system was a mere 150 MW away from blackouts, so every additional megawatt of capacity savings can be critical);
  • $730 million in annual bill savings for the nation's consumers;
  • 10,000 gigawatthours in savings (the annual electricity use, for example, of all the households in Connecticut combined); and
  • 1.7 million metric tons in annual carbon emissions (equaling the annual emissions of about 1.4 million cars) - totaling 38 million metric tons over the next thirty years.

"If the Secretary's proposal falls short, the nation will bear the environmental and economic costs of more than 40 additional power plants that will need to be built to meet the excess power demand," said deLaski.

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The Appliance Standards Awareness Project is dedicated to increasing understanding of and support for national appliance and equipment energy efficiency standards. ASAP is sponsored by leading environmental groups, consumer groups and state government and utilities.