A controversial piece of energy legislation is on its way to being scrapped after less than two months on the books.
Arizona’s Pool Pump and Portable Spa Energy Efficiency Standards, which took effect on Jan. 1, had garnered strong opposition in the state’s Senate and House over the past several weeks.
“It’s been really exciting to see this change take place,” said Paul Christopoulos, owner of PC Pool Care in Scottsdale, Ariz. “This law was already starting to cause problems for the industry here, but now it looks like we may get some relief.”
The law, which requires a multi- or variable-speed pump on all residential installations with a pump size greater than 1 horsepower, was modeled after Title 20, a California code that makes similar provisions.
However, the legislation provides no guidance on enforcement, and its language didn’t explicitly prohibit distributors and retailers from selling single-speed pumps and motors. This left service technicians dismayed as noncompliant contractors began undercutting their bids by wide margins.
“We want to do the right thing,” said Dan Jonaitis, owner of Arizona Pool Specialists in Scottsdale. “But, at the same time, we’re losing out on jobs because of this legislation. It has great intentions, but the enforcement just isn’t there.”
As their frustration with this lack of policing grew, techs began reaching out to government representatives, explaining their concerns about the law and arguing the need for immediate reform. Sen. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) took up the cause, rallying support for a repeal in the state Senate throughout early February.
Six pool professionals — including Christopoulos and Kurt Schuster, president of the Arizona/Nevada region of the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association — testified in committee hearings during those weeks, pitting their tales from the front lines against arguments from environmentalist groups.
Ultimately those voices rang true, and the repeal passed in the Senate by a margin of 20 to 9. Once the vote had passed, Sen. Biggs rushed the discussion to the House as an emergency measure, and proceeded to gather support there.
State government officials say Gov. Jan Brewer typically waits until the legislative session’s end in April to consider signing bills into law. If she signs this repeal, its provisions will take effect 90 days later.
Though this process hasn’t been simple, advocates of the repeal say working with Sen. Biggs was beneficial, and that it’s been exciting to watch their government leap into action on their behalf.
“It’s scary when you’re a small businessman to stick your neck out on something like this,” Christopoulos said. “But we’re glad to see our representatives doing the right thing.”