AGA cautions Biden administration to focus energy efficiency, emissions policies on multiple energy sources

Published on November 08, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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The American Gas Association (AGA) is cautioning the Biden administration not to focus energy efficiency and emissions improvement policies on just one energy source.

The AGA cited several announcements the administration made promoting provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), including a consumer home energy rebate program. In that program, the funds will be used to switch customers only to electric appliances, including electric heat pumps. AGA is concerned that the administration is missing an opportunity to make home heating more affordable by ignoring a broad portfolio of options, including natural gas heat pumps and other efficient gas appliances.

“Americans will be facing higher energy costs this winter and should be concerned that the government is implementing programs that will choose the appliances you use to heat your home or cook your family meals which can increase energy use and utility bills,” AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert said. “These policies ignore the cost and emissions savings that would be achieved through a portfolio approach that includes efficient gas end-use applications.”

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, families using natural gas for heat this winter can expect to pay $931. The average American home using electricity for heat will pay $1,359 this winter, said the AGA – which is 31 percent more. Homes heating with natural gas this winter could save between 12 percent and 62 percent compared to electrical alternatives, according to AGA’s Winter Outlook held October 17.

Further, AGA officials point out that using an energy star high-efficiency condensing gas furnace could cost $766 compared to $869 with a cold climate heat pump or $1,067 if a home installs a standard energy star heat pump.

Also, AGA strongly supports the $4.5 billion Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). As part of this annual allocation plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will allocate the remaining $400 million in the Spring for a total of $4.9 Billion.