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Energy Department Publishes Final Rule for Amended Energy Efficiency Standards for Distribution Transformers

On April 9, the U.S. Department of Energy issued new efficiency standards for the electricity distribution transformers. The Department of Energy (DOE) has regulated the energy efficiency level of low-voltage dry-type distribution transformers since 2007, and liquid-immersed and medium-voltage dry-type distribution transformers since 2010. A distribution transformer designed and constructed to be mounted on a utility pole is referred to as a pole-mount transformer. A distribution transformer designed and constructed to be located at ground level or underground, mounted on a concrete pad, and locked in a steel case is referred to as a pad-mount transformer. The new standards apply to the pole-mount transformers and pad-mount transformers that reduce the higher voltages on the distribution network to the 110V or 220V used by appliances and equipment.

Beginning in 2016, newly amended energy efficiency standards for distribution transformers will save up to $12.9 billion in total costs to consumers — ultimately saving families and businesses money while also reducing energy consumption. The new distribution transformer standards will also save 3.63 quadrillion Btu of energy for equipment sold over the 30-year period from 2016 to 2045.

The new amendments to the existing efficiency standards would further decrease electrical losses by about 8% for liquid-immersed transformers, 13% for medium-voltage dry-type transformers, and 18% for low-voltage dry-type transformers. In addition, about 264.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 51.75 million automobiles.

The distribution transformers final rule was the DOE's first "negotiated rulemaking," conducted under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act, and is viewed as an alternative to traditional procedures for drafting proposed regulations.

The Standards and Test Procedures for this product are related to Rulemaking for Liquid-Immersed and Medium-Voltage Dry-type Distribution Transformers Energy Conservation Standard and Rulemaking for Low-Voltage Dry-Type Distribution Transformers Energy Conservation Standard.

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