Lawmakers back co-ops on water heater rule

WaterHeater2_MarathonElectric cooperatives are urging the Department of Energy to consider alter­natives to a new rule, due to take effect April 2015, that stands to phase out large-capacity 55 ­gallon and above electric water heaters that save energy and money for co-op members in demand response programs.

Nearly 100 lawmakers on Capitol Hill are backing rural electric cooperatives when it comes to their concerns about a proposed ­federal standard for large capacity electric water heaters.

Senators and House members from both parties are demanding a five-year waiver from the Department of Energy’s pending rule, for the sake of utilities and their ­consumers, that can save energy and money by using these large, grid-enabled water heaters for load management and thermal storage.

The nation’s electric cooperatives have recom­mended that the Department of Energy create a separate appliance category for large “grid-enabled” electric storage water ­heaters, or adopt a waiver for at least five years with a three-year notice for any ­modifications or elimination of the waiver.