Arlington, VA.; February 24, 2012 — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today voiced its support for the new federal standards proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) that would increase the efficiency of distribution transformers by approximately ten percent over and above the standards set in 2007.
“The Department of Energy has succeeded in striking an appropriate balance between the benefits of increased efficiency and the potential increase in cost both to American transformer manufacturers and to electric consumers,” said Dave Mohre, executive director of the Energy and Power Division at NRECA.
“These efficiency gains will reduce wasted energy while also preserving choice in domestic steel suppliers and domestic transformer manufacturers,” Mohre said.
During the DOE public meeting on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), utilities, transformer manufacturers and component manufacturers expressed concern that if the DOE were to raise the efficiency requirements above the current proposed version, the requirements could reduce robust competition among suppliers, put smaller domestic transformer manufacturers out of business and, in the end, result in high-cost transformers whose life-span could end before they have been paid for.
Utilities voiced specific concern about the life-cycle cost analysis performed by DOE, especially the reluctance to use current wholesale power costs in that analysis. “We feel the analysis misrepresents the life cycle cost savings presented in the NOPR,” Mohre said.
Representatives from NRECA participated in the DOE’s Negotiated Rulemaking Working Group for Liquid Immersed Transformers and Medium Voltage Dry Type Transformers. The Working Group, which included utilities, manufacturers and environmental advocates, was formed in August and held three face-to-face multi-day meetings in order to review proposed standards and to discuss the analysis being prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy. The working group failed to reach consensus.
NRECA and several of its member cooperatives anticipate submitting comments on this NOPR by the April 10th deadline, urging DOE to maintain these proposed efficiency levels and issue a final rule by the court-ordered date of October 1, 2012.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.