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Oh Hell No: EPA Wants Gov’t To Control How Cold Your Beer Can Be

July 8, 2013


Regulation: No longer the stuff of science fiction, a  little-noticed change in energy-efficiency requirements for appliances could  lead to government controlling the power used in your home and how you set your  thermostat.

In a seemingly innocuous revision of its Energy Star efficiency requirements  announced June 27, the Environmental Protection Agency included an “optional”  requirement for a “smart-grid” connection for customers to electronically  connect their refrigerators or freezers with a utility provider.

The feature lets the utility provider regulate the appliances’ power  consumption, “including curtailing operations during more expensive peak-demand  times.”

So far, manufacturers are not required to include the feature, only  “encouraged,” and consumers must still give permission to turn it on. But with  the Obama administration’s renewed focus on fighting mythical climate change, we  expect it to become mandatory to save the planet from the perils of keeping your  beer too cold.

“Manufacturers that build in and certify optional ‘connected features’ will  earn a credit towards meeting the Energy Star efficiency requirements,”  according to an EPA email to

We are both intrigued and bothered by the notion that a utility company, the  regulated energy sock-puppet of government, could and probably will have the  power to regulate the power we use and how we use it, as long as we’re paying  our electricity bills, even to the point of turning these devices and appliances  off at will.

We’re reminded that former EPA director Carol Browner was a big fan of the  smart grid and its potential ability to monitor and control power usage down to  the thermostat in your home.

“Eventually,” she told U.S. News & World Report in 2009, “we can get to a  system when an electric company will be able to hold back some of the power so  that maybe your air-conditioner won’t operate at its peak.”

The same year, President Obama, who had won election on a pledge to  “fundamentally transform America,” signed a stimulus bill to “transform the way  we use energy” with a smart grid that would abandon “a grid of lines and wires  that dates back to Thomas Edison — a grid that can’t support the demands of  clean energy.”

To make sure we respond properly to the “demands of clean energy,” Obama said  this “investment will place Smart Meters in homes to make our energy bills  lower, make outages less likely and make it easier to use clean energy.” It’ll  also make it easier to monitor and control our energy use.

So if one day you keep your house too cool or your beer too cold and the  dials start moving, don’t be surprised. Its just a campaign promise being  kept.

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