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Other Agencies

U.S Department of Health & Human Services

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded block grant program that is implemented at the State and Tribal levels. Grantees are from low-income households that seek assistance for their home energy bills. LIHEAP has been operating since 1982 and its spurpose is "to assist low-income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, primarily in meeting their immediate home energy needs.” The program considers wood and pellets among the eligible fuel sources, although in practice it has been difficult for stove owners to use the program. Individuals and small businesses that sell wood and pellets are not as well equipped to handle the administrative and fiscal hurdles as large fossil fuel suppliers are. When stove owners do use the program, LIHEAP will also replace wood stoves that are broken beyond repair.
For more information about LIHEAP and wood heating, see this briefing paper from LIHEAP and this survey of low-income families who use woods through LIHEAP programs in Massachusetts.

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US Consumer Product Safety Commission

In 1983, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously to start a safety labeling standard for wood and coal burning stoves. Periodically, they also issue alerts about product recalls, fire and other hazards associated with space heating. Since 1979, the USCPSC has issued seven recalls of wood and pellet stove. Recalled stoves, usually done through voluntary recalls, include ones made by England Stove Works, Quadrafire, US Stove and Vermont Castings. For details, see our 2020 blog. in the last 15 years. For more information, visit www.cpsc.gov.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks prices for most consumer goods across time via its Consumer Price Index database. The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups firewood with kerosene and propane within its "household energy" index. Micro-data collected by BLS on the actual price of just firewood is not publicly available, in part due to confidentiality reasons related to the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act. Data for firewood prices is collected from retail establishments using standard Consumer Expenditure Survey procedures and is only one of four potential clusters that can be selected for this index. Accompanying information required in the reporting of firewood prices include the form of the wood (wood or wood pellets), the type (hardwood, softwood, mixed, or other), the size (cut, split, pellets, other), brand, and other clarifying information. All of this actual data is not publicly available, though access may be granted in some cases. This is markedly different from wood pellet prices, which are tracked by the Energy Information Administration. An official average price of firewood collected by BLS would be very useful, not just for consumers, but for the larger renewable energy community which has to continually compares renewables against fossil fuel prices.

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National Institute of Standards and Technology

The Weights and Measures Division within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regulates how products are weighed and measured to ensure consistency, uniformity and consumer protection. These regulations set the units of measurement which must be used in the sale of virtually all commercial products, and require certain information to be present. NIST regulations, which are adopted and enforced by states, say that the sale of non-packaged "fireplace or stove wood" be accompanied by a delivery ticket that includes information about the vendor, purchaser, date, quantity, price, and identity of the firewood sold. The guidance does not require that the vendor indicate the moisture content of the wood. The only US jurisdiction with required moisture content regulations is the Fairbanks non-attainment area, where the sale of wood over 20% moisture content is illegal as of October 1, 2021. The United Kingdom passed legislation in 2018 that made it illegal to sell wood in single units under 2 square meters with moisture content over 20%. AGH is currently working on a proposal to amend the NIST criteria to include moisture content disclosure.

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