ATER HEATER STANDARDS. Thank you for your recent "Frontlines" editorial regarding the debate on the options for basing new water heater efficiency standards ("Water Heater War," March 15, 1998, p. 6). Your article accurately captures the rhetoric which can result when standards setting actions meant to protect the public, such as the Department of Energy appliance standards, are used to promote political agendas and gain competitive advantage.
I wanted to provide some clarification regarding Virginia Power's comments on the water heater efficiency standard issue. Virginia Power's comments did not advocate that DOE use advanced technology as the basis for its minimum efficiency standard for any type of water heater, gas or electric.
It is Virginia Power's position that the purpose of minimum energy efficiency standards should not be to eliminate or reduce the number of useful and economic options available to consumers. The differences in the installation characteristics and performance between heat pump water heaters and electric resistance water heaters make these two appliances distinctly separate products. As such, they should have separate standards.