[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 114 (Wednesday, June 13, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 35299-35304]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-14402]


========================================================================
Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 114 / Wednesday, June 13, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 35299]]



DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Part 430

[Docket No. EERE-2012-BT-STD-0022]
RIN 1904-AC78


Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products and Certain 
Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Energy Conservation Standards for 
Residential Water Heaters

AGENCY: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of 
Energy.

ACTION: Request for information.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is requesting data and 
information about the impact of its recently amended energy 
conservation standards for residential electric water heaters on 
utility programs that use high-storage-volume (above 55 gallons) 
electric storage water heaters to reduce peak electricity demand. DOE 
amended its standards for residential water heaters on April 16, 2010, 
and compliance with the amended standards is required beginning on 
April 16, 2015. Of particular relevance, the amended standards for 
residential water heaters raised the minimum requirements for electric 
storage water heaters with storage volumes above 55 gallons to levels 
that are currently achieved through the use of heat pump water heater 
technology. Utilities have expressed concerns that the amended levels 
will negatively impact programs designed to reduce peak energy demand 
by heating water only during off-peak times and storing the water for 
use during peak demand periods. This request for information solicits 
feedback on the effects of the amended energy conservation standards 
for electric storage water heaters on such utility programs.

DATES: DOE will accept written comments, data, and information on this 
notice until July 13, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested persons 
may submit comments, identified by docket number EERE-2012-BT-0022 and/
or RIN 1904-AC78, by any of the following methods:
     Email: ResWaterHtrsRFI-2012-STD-0022@ee.doe.gov. Include 
EERE-2012-BT-0022 and/or RIN 1904-AC78 in the subject line of the 
message. Submit electronic comments in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, 
PDF, or ASCII file format, and avoid the use of special characters or 
any form of encryption.
     Postal Mail: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Building Technologies Program, Mailstop EE-2J, 1000 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 
586-2945. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disc (CD), 
in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.
     Hand Delivery/Courier: Ms. Brenda Edwards, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Building Technologies Program, 950 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 6th 
Floor, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 586-2945. If possible, 
please submit all items on a CD, in which case it is not necessary to 
include printed copies.
    All submissions received must include the agency name and docket 
number and/or RIN for this rulemaking. No telefacsimilies (faxes) will 
be accepted. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see section III of 
this document (Public Participation).
    Docket: The docket for this rulemaking is available for review at 
www.regulations.gov, including Federal Register notices, comments, and 
other supporting documents/materials. All documents in the docket are 
listed in the www.regulations.gov index. However, not all documents 
listed in the index may be publicly available, such as information that 
is exempt from public disclosure.
    A link to the docket web page can be found at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR+PR+N+O+SR+PS;rpp=50;so=DESC;sb=postedDate;po=0;D=E
ERE-2012-BT-STD-0022. The www.regulations.gov web page will contain 
simple instructions on how to access all documents, including public 
comments, in the docket.
    For further information on how to review the docket, contact Ms. 
Brenda Edwards at (202) 586-2945 or by email: 
Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Ashley Armstrong, U.S. Department 
of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building 
Technologies Program, EE-2J, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC 20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 586-6590. Email: 
Ashley.Armstrong@ee.doe.gov.
    Mr. Ari Altman, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General 
Counsel, Mailstop GC-71, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585-0121. Telephone: (202) 287-6307. Email: 
Ari.Altman@hq.doe.govmailto:.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
    A. Statutory Authority
    B. Background
II. Discussion
    A. Description of Utility Electric Thermal Storage Programs for 
Water Heaters
    B. Discussion of Utility Company Concerns With April 2010 Water 
Heater Standards
III. Public Participation
    A. Submission of Comments
    B. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment

I. Introduction

    The following section briefly discusses the statutory authority 
underlying the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) standards for 
residential water heaters, as well as some of the relevant historical 
background related to the establishment of standards for residential 
water heaters.

A. Statutory Authority

    Title III, Part B \1\ of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 
1975 (``EPCA'' or ``the Act''), Public Law 94-163 (42 U.S.C. 6291-6309, 
as codified) sets forth a variety of provisions designed to improve 
energy efficiency and establishes the Energy Conservation Program for 
Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles,\2\ a program covering most 
major household appliances (collectively referred to as ``covered

[[Page 35300]]

products''), which includes the types of residential water heaters that 
are the subject of today's notice. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(4)) EPCA 
prescribed energy conservation standards for these products (42 U.S.C. 
6295(e)(1)) and directed DOE to conduct two cycles of rulemakings to 
determine whether to amend standards. (42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(4)) 
Furthermore, under 42 U.S.C. 6295(m), the agency must periodically 
review its already established energy conservation standards for a 
covered product. Under this requirement, the next review that DOE would 
need to conduct must occur no later than six years from the issuance of 
a final rule establishing or amending a standard for a covered product.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For editorial reasons, upon codification in the U.S. Code, 
Part B was redesignated as Part A.
    \2\ All references to EPCA in this document refer to the statute 
as amended through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, 
Public Law 110-140 (Dec. 19, 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under EPCA, this program generally consists of four parts: (1) 
Testing; (2) labeling; (3) establishing Federal energy conservation 
standards; and (4) certification and enforcement procedures. The 
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is primarily responsible for labeling 
consumer products, and DOE implements the remainder of the program. 
Subject to certain criteria and conditions, DOE is required to develop 
test procedures to measure the energy efficiency, energy use, or 
estimated annual operating cost of each covered product. (42 U.S.C. 
6293) Manufacturers of covered products must use the prescribed DOE 
test procedure as the basis for certifying to DOE that their products 
comply with the applicable energy conservation standards adopted under 
EPCA and when making representations to the public regarding the energy 
use or efficiency of those products. (42 U.S.C. 6293(c) and 6295(s)) 
Similarly, DOE must use these test procedures to determine whether the 
products comply with standards adopted pursuant to EPCA. Id. The DOE 
test procedures for residential water heaters currently appear at title 
10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 430, subpart B, 
appendix E.
    DOE must follow specific statutory criteria for prescribing amended 
standards for covered products. As indicated above, any amended 
standard for a covered product must be designed to achieve the maximum 
improvement in energy efficiency that is technologically feasible and 
economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(A)) Furthermore, DOE may 
not adopt any standard that would not result in the significant 
conservation of energy. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(3)) Moreover, DOE may not 
prescribe a standard: (1) For certain products, including residential 
water heaters, if no test procedure has been established for the 
product, or (2) if DOE determines by rule that the proposed standard is 
not technologically feasible or economically justified. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(o)(3)(A)-(B)) In deciding whether a proposed standard is 
economically justified, DOE must determine whether the benefits of the 
standard exceed its burdens. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)) DOE must make 
this determination after receiving comments on the proposed standard, 
and by considering, to the greatest extent practicable, the following 
seven factors:
    1. The economic impact of the standard on manufacturers and 
consumers of the products subject to the standard;
    2. The savings in operating costs throughout the estimated average 
life of the covered products in the type (or class) compared to any 
increase in the price, initial charges, or maintenance expenses for the 
covered products that are likely to result from the imposition of the 
standard;
    3. The total projected amount of energy, or as applicable, water, 
savings likely to result directly from the imposition of the standard;
    4. Any lessening of the utility or the performance of the covered 
products likely to result from the imposition of the standard;
    5. The impact of any lessening of competition, as determined in 
writing by the Attorney General, that is likely to result from the 
imposition of the standard;
    6. The need for national energy and water conservation; and
    7. Other factors the Secretary of Energy (Secretary) considers 
relevant. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(i)(I)-(VII)).
    EPCA, as codified, also contains what is known as an ``anti-
backsliding'' provision, which prevents the Secretary from prescribing 
any amended standard that either increases the maximum allowable energy 
use or decreases the minimum required energy efficiency of a covered 
product. (42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(1)) Also, the Secretary may not prescribe 
an amended or new standard if interested persons have established by a 
preponderance of the evidence that the standard is likely to result in 
the unavailability in the United States of any covered product type (or 
class) of performance characteristics (including reliability), 
features, sizes, capacities, and volumes that are substantially the 
same as those generally available in the United States. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(o)(4))
    Further, EPCA, as codified, establishes a rebuttable presumption 
that a standard is economically justified if the Secretary finds that 
the additional cost to the consumer of purchasing a product complying 
with an energy conservation standard level will be less than three 
times the value of the energy savings during the first year that the 
consumer will receive as a result of the standard, as calculated under 
the applicable test procedure. See 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)(2)(B)(iii).
    Additionally, 42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(1) specifies requirements when 
promulgating a standard for a type or class of covered product that has 
two or more subcategories. DOE must specify a different standard level 
than that which applies generally to such type or class of products for 
any group of covered products that have the same function or intended 
use if DOE determines that products within such group (A) consume a 
different kind of energy from that consumed by other covered products 
within such type (or class); or (B) have a capacity or other 
performance-related feature which other products within such type (or 
class) do not have and such feature justifies a higher or lower 
standard. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(1)). A rule prescribing an energy 
conservation standard for a type (or class) of covered products shall 
specify a level of energy use or efficiency higher or lower than that 
which applies (or would apply) for such type (or class) for any group 
of covered products that have the same function or intended use, if the 
Secretary determines that covered products within such group consume a 
different kind of energy from that consumed by other covered products 
within such type (or class); or have a capacity or other performance-
related feature that other products within such type (or class) do not 
have and such feature justifies a higher or lower standard from that 
which applies (or will apply) to other products within such type (or 
class). Any rule prescribing such a standard must include an 
explanation of the basis on which such higher or lower level was 
established. (42 U.S.C. 6295(q)(2))
    Federal energy conservation requirements generally supersede State 
laws or regulations concerning energy conservation testing, labeling, 
and standards. (42 U.S.C. 6297(a)-(c)) DOE may, however, grant waivers 
of Federal preemption for particular State laws or regulations, in 
accordance with the procedures and other provisions set forth under 42 
U.S.C. 6297(d)).

B. Background

    Before being amended by the National Appliance Energy Conservation 
Act of 1987 (NAECA; Pub. L. 100-12), Title III of EPCA included water 
heaters equipment as covered products. NAECA's amendments to EPCA 
established energy conservation

[[Page 35301]]

standards for residential water heaters, and required that DOE 
determine whether these standards should be amended. (42 U.S.C. 
6295(e)(1); 42 U.S.C. 6295(e)(4)) DOE initially amended the 
statutorily-prescribed standards for water heaters in 2001 (66 FR 4474 
(Jan. 17, 2001)) and amended standards for water heaters for a second 
time in 2010 (75 FR 20112 (April 16, 2010)) (April 2010 Final Rule).
    The energy conservation standards for residential water heaters in 
the April 2010 Final Rule will apply to products manufactured on or 
after April 16, 2015. 75 FR 20112. This final rule completed the second 
amended standards rulemaking for water heaters required under 42 U.S.C. 
6295(e)(4)(B). The standards consist of minimum energy factors (EF) 
that vary based on the storage volume of the water heater, the type of 
energy it uses (i.e., gas, oil, or electricity), and whether it is a 
storage, instantaneous, or tabletop model. 10 CFR 430.32(d). The 
currently applicable water heater energy conservation standards, as 
well as those that will be applicable starting April 16, 2015, are set 
forth in Table I.1 below.

 Table I.1--Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Water Heaters
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Energy factor as
         Product class            of January 20,    Energy factor as of
                                       2004            April 16, 2015
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gas-fired Water Heater........  0.67--(0.0019 x    For tanks with a
                                 Rated Storage      Rated Storage Volume
                                 Volume in          at or below 55
                                 gallons).          gallons: EF = 0.675--
                                                    (0.0015 x Rated
                                                    Storage Volume in
                                                    gallons).
                                                   For tanks with a
                                                    Rated Storage Volume
                                                    above 55 gallons: EF
                                                    = 0.8012--(0.00078 x
                                                    Rated Storage Volume
                                                    in gallons).
Oil-fired Water Heater........  0.59--(0.0019 x    EF = 0.68--(0.0019 x
                                 Rated Storage      Rated Storage Volume
                                 Volume in          in gallons).
                                 gallons).
Electric Water Heater.........  0.97--(0.00132 x   For tanks with a
                                 Rated Storage      Rated Storage Volume
                                 Volume in          at or below 55
                                 gallons).          gallons: EF = 0.960--
                                                    (0.0003 x Rated
                                                    Storage Volume in
                                                    gallons).
                                                   For tanks with a
                                                    Rated Storage Volume
                                                    above 55 gallons: EF
                                                    = 2.057--(0.00113 x
                                                    Rated Storage Volume
                                                    in gallons).
Tabletop Water Heater.........  0.93--(0.00132 x   EF = 0.93--(0.00132 x
                                 Rated Storage      Rated Storage Volume
                                 Volume in          in gallons).
                                 gallons).
Instantaneous Gas-fired Water   0.62--(0.0019 x    EF = 0.82--(0.0019 x
 Heater.                         Rated Storage      Rated Storage Volume
                                 Volume in          in gallons).
                                 gallons).
Instantaneous Electric Water    0.93--(0.00132 x   EF = 0.93--(0.00132 x
 Heater.                         Rated Storage      Rated Storage Volume
                                 Volume in          in gallons).
                                 gallons).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Discussion

A. Description of Utility Electric Thermal Storage Programs for Water 
Heaters

    Electric thermal storage (ETS) programs, also known as load 
shifting or demand response programs, are potentially an effective way 
for utilities to manage peak demand load by limiting the times when 
certain appliances are operated. As part of such programs, utilities 
typically provide an incentive for consumers (such as reduced 
electricity rates, subsidized cost of a new appliance, or annual fixed 
payment incentives) to enroll in a program allowing the utility company 
to control when the appliance cycles on and off. The appliance is 
cycled on during off-peak hours, and the electricity consumed is stored 
by the appliance as thermal energy for use during peak demand times. In 
the case of water heaters, the utility typically offers some incentive 
for its customers to enroll in the ETS program, and in return the 
utility is allowed to control the operation of the customer's water 
heater (typically through using either a timed switch or a radio 
controlled switch) in a manner that prevents the appliance from turning 
on during peak load times and forces the water heating operation to 
occur during off-peak demand times. Several stakeholders (including the 
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), PJM 
Interconnection, American Public Power Association (APPA), and Steffes 
Corporation) have indicated to DOE that the consumer is often 
responsible for the purchase and installation cost of the water heater, 
but such cost may be offset in part by the utility, and the utility 
typically covers the cost of the control technology with no charge to 
the consumer. Since these programs allow water heating only during non-
peak times, the heated water must be stored in the tank to meet 
consumer needs during peak demand times. Because the water heater 
cannot operate during peak demand times, these programs typically 
utilize electric storage water heaters with a larger tanks than would 
otherwise be required to meet the typical demand required by the 
consumer. The additional tank storage capacity ensures that the 
consumer will have enough hot water to meet their needs without the 
need for power during peak-demand hours.
    The Department is aware of numerous ETS load shifting programs for 
residential water heaters in the United States. According to Great 
River Energy and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, there are more than 
100 electric cooperatives nationwide that have installed more than 
150,000 ETS water heaters in 20 states. Information provided by 
utilities indicates a similar estimate, as a recent survey showed 109 
cooperatives in 22 states using such programs with more than 150,000 
water heaters. Additionally, the utilities noted that the number of 
programs nationwide is growing, with 22 additional cooperatives in 7 
other states considering adopting similar programs. As noted above, 
these programs typically employ large electric storage water tanks 
capable of heating enough water during off-peak demand times to serve 
consumers during peak demand times when the water heater would not be 
powered. These tanks are ideal because they are highly insulated and 
make use of the heated water as a thermal storage device, storing the 
energy conducted to the water from the electric resistance element for 
later use.
    DOE believes that ETS programs offer benefits to both utilities and 
consumers. Because ETS programs force water heating to occur during 
off-peak times, the energy used for heating water is from sources that 
are potentially less expensive and less polluting than sources that 
must be used during peak demand times. The utilities indicated that a 
survey found that 49 cooperatives use ETS programs to store energy from 
wind generation and 52 cooperatives

[[Page 35302]]

use such programs to store electricity generated from hydroelectric 
sources. The ability to utilize less expensive energy sources reduces 
operating costs for utilities and results in savings which potentially 
can be passed on to consumers in the form of lower electricity rates or 
other financial incentives provided by utilities. The utilities noted 
that the benefits to consumers include rebates to offset the initial 
cost of the water heater, discounted utility bills, off-peak pricing, 
free water heater maintenance, and lower overall rates due to the 
reduction of the utility's costs. In addition, the utilities noted that 
benefits to utility companies included reduced wholesale demand 
charges, reduced costs of operating less efficient peaking generators, 
less exposure to wholesale spot market prices, reduced capacity 
obligations, emergency load control system regulation, storage of 
energy generated by renewable resources during off-peak periods, lower 
transmission system congestion, and improved distribution system 
operations. Lastly, the utilities commented that the programs provide 
benefits to the Nation because they mitigate environmental impacts by 
lowering carbon emissions from fossil fuel resources through enabling 
greater penetration and utilization of renewable energy assets, 
facilitating more efficient operation of existing base load generating 
plants, and delaying construction of new generating plants.
    While DOE recognizes that these programs are valuable to utilities 
in their efforts to reduce peak demand loads, to consumers in reducing 
overall costs, and to the Nation in allowing for increased use of 
renewable energy resources and reduced emissions from fossil fuels, it 
is not apparent that these programs reduce energy consumption. In fact, 
DOE believes that the additional standby losses from storing water in a 
large storage tank and at an increased temperature may increase energy 
consumption as compared to using a smaller tank and heating the water 
when it is needed.
    The Department is interested in receiving comment and information 
on utility ETS programs for residential water heaters. In particular, 
DOE would like to receive data and information on the penetration of 
such programs throughout the U.S. (i.e., what percentage of total water 
heaters installed are used in these programs), data on the financial 
benefits to consumers, and information on the energy savings (if any) 
or other National benefits that are achieved through the use of such 
programs. This is identified as issue 1 in section III.B, ``Issues on 
Which DOE Seeks Comment.''

B. Discussion of Stakeholder Concerns With April 2010 Water Heater 
Standards

    In response to the April 2010 Final Rule amending the energy 
conservation standards for water heaters, stakeholders (i.e., NRECA, 
PJM Interconnection, APPA, and Steffes Corporation) indicated concerns 
about the energy conservation standard established for electric storage 
water heaters with tanks having greater than 55 gallons of storage 
volume and about the impact that such standards would have on existing 
ETS programs. As discussed above, large electric storage water heaters 
(over 55 gallons of storage volume) are a key component of utility ETS 
programs to allow the hot water tank to store enough water to meet 
consumer demand during peak demand times when the water heater would 
not be allowed to turn on. As shown in Table I.1, the April 2010 Final 
Rule established an energy conservation standard that would effectively 
require the use of heat pump technology to meet the minimum standard 
for electric storage water heaters with storage volumes above 55 
gallons. Although ETS programs may be able to utilize heat pump water 
heaters (HPWH), utility companies are concerned that the increase in 
the initial cost of HPWH units as compared to purchasing a smaller 
electric resistance unit (such as a 50 gallon water heater, which is 
often adequate for typical residential use) would discourage consumers 
from participating in load shifting programs. Utilities may not be able 
to offer enough incentives to overcome the increase in first cost of a 
large HPWH, resulting in decreased customer participation in ETS 
programs. In addition, utilities believe the technological differences 
of heat pump water heaters are such that they may not always be able to 
fill the same role as large-volume electric resistance water heaters. 
Utilities have indicated that the ability of electric resistance water 
heaters to `super heat' water to 170[emsp14][deg]F is a key component 
in increasing the water heater capacity such that it can meet consumer 
demand without operating during peak times. Utilities contend that heat 
pump water heaters cannot provide the `super heating' capabilities of 
electric resistance water heaters because the refrigeration cycle of 
commercially available heat pump water heaters limits the maximum water 
temperature due to efficiency and reliability issues with the 
compressor as the water temperature is raised. While DOE agrees this is 
true when the water heater operates in the heat pump mode, DOE notes 
that heat pump water heaters currently on the market are equipped with 
electric resistance backup heating. The use of the backup resistance 
elements would allow a heat pump water heater to heat water to a much 
higher temperature comparable to the temperatures that can be achieved 
by conventional electric resistance water heaters.
    DOE recognizes that the potential elimination of utility ETS 
programs due to the efficiency requirements in the April 2010 Final 
Rule for large-volume electric water heaters would have the potential 
to increase peak-demand load and may impact both utilities and 
consumers participating in such programs. If consumers who otherwise 
would have purchased a large-volume electric resistance tank and 
participated in an ETS program instead purchase a smaller size tank 
(e.g., 50-gallon) and do not participate in the ETS program, the result 
may be reduced cost savings to consumers (as compared to the situation 
before the water heater standards were amended) and increased peak 
loads for utilities. DOE notes that increased usage of heat pump water 
heaters could mitigate some of these concerns because heat pump water 
heaters are comparatively much more efficient than electric resistance 
water heaters, which will reduce electricity demand at all times, 
especially during peak times. In contrast, DOE believes that the use of 
larger storage tanks for ETS programs may use more electricity than 
would be consumed if ETS programs were phased out by utilities due to 
the unavailability of large-volume electric resistance water heaters.
    As a result of the concerns with the standards promulgated in the 
April 2010 Final Rule, some stakeholders have requested that DOE 
consider the creation of a new product class of electric water heaters 
for ``grid-interactive water heaters.'' These stakeholders proposed 
that such products would be defined as an electric storage water heater 
that has: (1) A storage tank volume greater than 55 gallons; (2) a 
control device capable of receiving communication from a grid operator, 
electric utility, or other energy services company that provides real-
time control of the heating element; (3) and agreement to be enrolled 
in a grid operator, electric utility, or other energy services company 
program to provide demand response or other electric grid services; and 
(4) a thermostatic mixing valve if the water heater is capable of 
heating water greater than 120[emsp14][deg]F. DOE is considering its 
legal authority to promulgate such a rule. As it does so,

[[Page 35303]]

DOE is seeking additional information regarding the potential effects 
of the current standard and the potential benefits of the proposals 
above.
    DOE is interested in receiving comment on potential solutions to 
mitigate the concerns of utility companies described above, including 
the creation of a new product class for ``grid-interactive storage 
water heater,'' as proposed by the utilities. Other possible solutions 
may include: (1) A waiver system that would allow manufacturers to 
produce small quantities of electric resistance models at storage 
volumes above 55 gallons and sell them directly to utilities that 
operate such programs; (2) using multiple smaller water heaters in 
place of a single large water heater to satisfy the needs of consumers 
who participate in these programs; or (3) using large-storage-volume 
heat pump water heaters to satisfy the needs of consumers who 
participate in these programs. DOE is interested in receiving comment 
on the merits and drawbacks of the potential solutions identified, as 
well as any other potential solutions that could address this issue. 
This is identified as issue 2 in section III.B, ``Issues on Which DOE 
Seeks Comment.''

III. Public Participation

A. Submission of Comments

    DOE will accept comments, data, and information regarding this 
request for information until the date provided in the DATES section at 
the beginning of this proposed rule. Interested parties may submit 
comments, data, and other information using any of the methods 
described in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this notice.
    Submitting comments via regulations.gov. The regulations.gov web 
page will require you to provide your name and contact information. 
Your contact information will be viewable to DOE Building Technologies 
staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable 
except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and 
submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not 
processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this 
information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to 
technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE 
may not be able to consider your comment.
    However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you 
include it in the comment itself or in any documents attached to your 
comment. Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable 
should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to 
your comment. Otherwise, persons viewing comments will see only first 
and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, 
and any documents submitted with the comments.
    Do not submit to regulations.gov information for which disclosure 
is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or 
financial information (hereinafter referred to as Confidential Business 
Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through regulations.gov cannot 
be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the Web site will waive 
any CBI claims for the information submitted. For information on 
submitting CBI, see the Confidential Business Information section 
below.
    DOE processes submissions made through regulations.gov before 
posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of being 
submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed 
simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several 
weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that regulations.gov 
provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment.
    Submitting comments via email, hand delivery/courier, or mail. 
Comments and documents submitted via email, hand delivery, or mail also 
will be posted to regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal 
contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your 
comment or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact 
information in a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email 
address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover 
letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any 
comments.
    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, 
documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via mail or hand 
delivery/courier, please provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is 
not necessary to submit printed copies. No facsimiles (faxes) will be 
accepted.
    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE 
electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or 
Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that 
are not secured, that are written in English, and that are free of any 
defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or 
any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the 
electronic signature of the author.
    Campaign form letters. Please submit campaign form letters by the 
originating organization in batches of between 50 to 500 form letters 
per PDF or as one form letter with a list of supporters' names compiled 
into one or more PDFs. This reduces comment processing and posting 
time.
    Confidential Business Information. According to 10 CFR 1004.11, any 
person submitting information that he or she believes to be 
confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via 
email, postal mail, or hand delivery/courier two well-marked copies: 
One copy of the document marked confidential including all the 
information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document 
marked non-confidential with the information believed to be 
confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if 
feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential 
status of the information and treat it according to its determination.
    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat 
submitted information as confidential include: (1) A description of the 
items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as 
confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is 
generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the 
information has previously been made available to others without 
obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the 
competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from 
public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its 
confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why 
disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest.
    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public 
docket, without change and as received, including any personal 
information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be 
exempt from public disclosure).
    DOE considers public participation to be a very important part of 
the process for developing energy conservation standards. DOE actively 
encourages the participation and interaction of the public during the 
comment period in each stage of the rulemaking process. Interactions 
with and between members of the public provide a balanced discussion of 
the issues and assist DOE in the rulemaking process. Anyone who wishes 
to be added to the DOE mailing list to receive future notices and 
information about this rulemaking should contact Ms. Brenda Edwards at

[[Page 35304]]

(202) 586-2945, or via email at Brenda.Edwards@ee.doe.gov.

B. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment

    Although DOE welcomes comments on any aspect of this request for 
information, DOE is particularly interested in receiving comments and 
views of interested parties concerning the following issues:
    1. Information on the effects of utility programs designed to 
reduce peak energy demand by heating water only during off-peak times 
and storing the water for use during peak demand periods. In 
particular, DOE is interested in information on the penetration of 
residential water heater load shifting programs throughout the U.S. 
(i.e., what percentage of total water heaters installed are used in 
these programs), the economic benefits of such programs to consumers, 
and the energy impacts (if any) or other National benefits that are 
achieved through the use of such programs.
    2. Information on the effects of the amended energy conservation 
standards for electric storage water heaters with rated storage volumes 
above 55 gallons on utility programs designed to reduce peak energy 
demand by heating water only during off-peak times and storing the 
water for use during peak demand periods.
    3. Information on capacity or other performance-related feature(s) 
for residential water heaters which other water heaters do not have 
that are used in demand-response programs and whether such feature(s) 
justifies a separate standard from that which will apply to other 
electric water heaters with rated storage volumes above 55 gallons.
    4. Information on potential solutions that would resolve the 
concerns of utilities that administer load shifting programs for 
residential water heaters that require the use of large-volume electric 
storage water heaters, including the potential approaches identified in 
this RFI.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 6, 2012.
Kathleen B. Hogan,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy.
[FR Doc. 2012-14402 Filed 6-12-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P