In a recent Congressional hearing, Geraldine Richmond, the Under Secretary for Science and Innovation at the Department of Energy (DOE), admitted her lack of knowledge about the basic facts of electric stove installation. This revelation comes amidst the DOE’s proposed regulatory crackdown on gas stoves and the push for their electric counterparts. The situation is enough to ruffle the feathers of any Republican, and I am no exception.
The hearing, aptly titled “Cancelling Consumer Choice: Examining the Biden Administration’s Regulatory Assault on Americans’ Home Appliances,” saw Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) question Richmond about the DOE’s proposed federal rulemaking. Unveiled in February, this proposal would allow the agency to set new efficiency and conservation standards for home appliances, including gas stoves.
The proposed rule, which aims to reduce emissions from household appliances, would affect at least half of the new gas stove models sold in the United States. It would render most of the existing models on the market non-compliant, according to Republicans on the Subcommittee. This is not a ban. Well, let’s look at the facts.
During the hearing, Perry disputed Democrat claims that the DOE rule shouldn’t be referred to as a gas stove ban. He pointed out that only 4% of current gas stovetops available on the market today meet the rule, which means that 96% of them don’t. This is a ban in all but name, and it will hit lower-income families the hardest.
Perry also highlighted the financial burden of installing an electric stove, a cost many people on lower incomes couldn’t afford. He asked Richmond if she knew what it takes to install an electric stove in a home, to which she admitted her ignorance.
Installing an electric stove requires a 220 line, which often necessitates hiring an electrician. This is optional for the untrained, as it involves drilling holes in your floor and pulling wire to the panel. Perry questioned whether Richmond had included these installation costs in the DOE’s estimated efficiency savings.
Richmond responded that the administration isn’t looking to force anyone to replace their existing stove with an electric one. However, Perry argued that when a person’s existing stove breaks down, they would be forced to buy a more expensive one that complies with the new rules.
Despite the DOE’s proposed appliance efficiency standards being burdensome and costly for Americans, Democrats continue to deny that this amounts to a gas stove ban. They insist that no one is taking away your gas stove. But when most gas stoves on the market don’t meet the new standards, it’s hard to see it as anything other than a ban.
The gas stove controversy traces back to CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr.’s comments in January about the possibility of gas stoves being prohibited. Following Republican uproar over Trumka’s remarks, the White House pushed back on claims of gas stove bans. However, an internal memo by Trumka suggested there was enough evidence for the CPSC to move ahead with a notice of proposed rulemaking to ban gas stoves.
In conclusion, the Biden administration’s proposed regulatory crackdown on gas stoves and the push for their electric counterparts is an apparent assault on consumer choice. It’s a move that will hit lower-income families the hardest and is based on a lack of understanding of the basic facts of electric stove installation. As a Republican, I find this situation profoundly frustrating and a clear example of the administration’s misguided approach to energy policy.