A senior Biden administration official responsible for overseeing a new rule that would push households to purchase electric stoves over cheaper gas-powered stoves said that she does not know how an electric stove is installed during testimony before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Economic Growth, and Regulatory Affairs on Tuesday.
The Department of Energy (DOE) on Feb. 1 published a proposed federal regulation that would require millions of household gas stoves in the United States to be modified for “energy efficiency,” according to the rule’s text, which has provoked an outcry from Republicans. In testimony before the subcommittee, Geraldine Richmond, the Under Secretary of Energy for Science and Innovation who oversaw the rulemaking process, said she does not know how an electric stove, the suggested alternative under the rule, would be installed.
“If you don’t have a lot of money, you need to spend more money on buying a stove to comply with the rule. If you have a gas stove in your home right now, you have a 110 line,” said Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who also chairs the House Freedom Caucus. “Do you know what it takes to put an electric stove in your home?” he asked.
“But I do!” exclaimed Perry. “You need to run a 220 line and you’ll need an electrician to do it. You’ll need to hire someone to come in and drill holes in your floor and pull wire to the panel, and hook that whole thing up,” he added, before asking whether Richmond had included the cost of installation in the estimated efficiency savings.
“We’re strongly in favor of consumer choice,” Richmond began to say, with Perry saying “Apparently not!” as she spoke.
Along with the DOE’s rule, statements by Richard Trumka Jr., a Biden-appointed commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissioner, have led conservatives to believe that the administration seeks to discourage the use of gas stoves in homes as part of its climate policy.
“This is a hidden hazard,” said Trumka in an interview with Bloomberg News in January. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Natural gas stoves are used in 40% of all homes in the United States and are cheaper, as well as quicker to use, than electric induction stoves, according to Bloomberg News. The rule proposed by DOE would require 50% of stoves to be upgraded to meet new energy standards, according to Richmond’s comments during the hearing.
Perry also questioned whether Richmond’s office had consulted with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an independent agency that regulates the transmission of electricity and natural gas across state lines, whether increasing the number of electric stoves in the country would exert pressure on the U.S. electricity grid.
“We did not. In our energy standards program, we did not consult with FERC,” Richmond replied.
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