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
“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
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
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.”