A little more than a year ago I wrote about state of affairs with the rulemaking proceedings of the California Energy Commission and its Appliance Efficiency Regulations. An informed reader alerted me to some updated events regarding the California regulations to reduce the amount of power appliances use when charging or sitting idle while plugged into wall sockets. In case you don't know, the CEC adopted standards in 2004 to decrease the use of standby power by household electronics.
These power adapters, called energy vampires by the CEC because they suck energy from the outlet even when the device isn't being charged, must decrease the amount of standby energy used. However, there is resistance from some power-tool manufacturers that requires reductions in the energy consumed by these adapters.
What do the new regulations mean to the consumer? The device will cost more - of course. The Natural Resources Defense Council says the increase will range from 25 cents to one dollar. The good news is that your improved designs will be more power efficient and could save from one dollar to 11 dollars over the life of the product.
What do the regulations mean to energy usage in the USA? Studies by Ecos Consulting indicate that electricity usage could be reduced by as much as 2 percent. That's not enough according to some manufacturers of electronic products and will cost the manufacturer too much to design new wall warts.
According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, an electronics industry trade group and some manufacturers wants a one year delay on the regulations set to take effect this July 1. The pushback from the industry is that the regulations are costly, won't save much energy and will limit choice for the consumer. The CEC is considering the request but says it would be difficult to postpone regulations that some companies have complied with already.
Some say the electronics industry doesn't need these regulations to lower energy consumption because the market was already moving in that direction. But maybe that's why this energy vampire slayer act is needed - to ensure the industry moves towards more efficient energy usage. What do you think, is the CEC on the right track?