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California

The Consumer Electronics (CE) industry has long demonstrated a commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. This emphasis on sustainability is evident in everything from green design and manufacturing of new products to electronics recycling (eCycling).

  • In 2014, CEA has sponsored common-sense legislation, AB 2581 (Bradford), which:
    - requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to use current data when commencing new rulemaking efforts,
    - allows the CEC to recognize voluntary agreements (VAs) as a component to achieve energy efficiency goals, and
    - streamlines the process for the CEC to eliminate duplicative or outdated regulations. 
  • If the CEC is serious about better energy efficiency in consumer electronics devices to achieve a share of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions and address climate change, it needs to be using the latest data. Using old data in regulating the rapidly-changing world of high-tech consumer electronics devices is a recipe for phantom savings that do nothing to address GHG reduction goals.  Consumers will see less choice, less innovation, devices without the features they want, and higher costs, all without the contribution to addressing climate change they are looking for.
  • AB 2581 will be heard soon in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications committee. We urge CEA members and the public to contact members of the committee and urge them to support AB 2581.
  • 2011 study found that despite their popularity in American homes, consumer electronics (CE) account for a relatively small share – roughly 13 percent – of the average U.S. home’s electricity consumption.
  • CEA launched GreenerGadgets.org, an online resource that educates consumers about purchasing, using, and recycling energy efficient devices.
  • CE industry leaders  launched the eCycling Leadership Initiative with the goal of recycling one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016 – enough electronic equipment to fill an entire 71,000-seat NFL stadium. And the Initiative is producing great results: 2012 saw an increase of 27 percent over 2011 (460 million pounds), and a total increase of 95 percent since 2010 (300 million pounds).
  • CEA, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and 15 industry-leading video providers and device manufacturers signed an unprecedented Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement that will result in annual residential electricity savings of $1.5 billion or more.
  • CEA, Environmental Defense Fund and InnoCentive sponsored an open crowdsourcing Eco-Challenge to find environmentally and economically sound ways to recycle old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and monitors. More than 350 solvers from around the world participated in the competition, and prizes of $1,000 to $5,000 were awarded to the best solutions.
  • CEA’s 2013 Sustainability Report illustrates the industry’s commitment to embedding sustainable practices in how products are designed, manufactured, distributed, sold and handled at their end-of-life.

 

The Consumer Electronics Industry is an Important Part of California’s Economy.
 
In a state struggling with unemployment, budget deficits and dwindling revenues, our industry remains a bright spot in the Golden State’s economy.
 
Not only does California have the largest amount of CE sector activity ($450 billion and 11.8 percent in overall workforce compensation), but it also has the most high-tech industry metrics including employment, wages, payroll, and establishments.
 
CA High-Tech Industry
 (TechAmerica, 09)
Employment Average Wage Payroll
Los Angeles 170,000 $91,200 $15.5 billion
Oakland 82,100 $98,400 $8.1 billion
Orange County 95,000 $86,400 $8.2 billion
Sacramento 39,700 $86,000 $3.4 billion
San Diego 111,000 $93,300 $10.3 billion
San Francisco 86,600 $123,500 $10.7 billion
San Jose/Silicon Valley 225,600 $132,100 $29.8 billion
Statewide (2010) 931,000 $110,600 $102.9 billion
 
 
Yet the California Energy Commission (CEC) is Once Again Pushing Unnecessary and Harmful Regulations – Despite Market-based Efficiency Gains.
 
On March 14th, the CEC announced plans for a new round of regulatory standards for high tech products including computers, displays, video game consoles, imaging equipment, servers and set-top boxes. View updates and public comments here.
 
Electronic manufacturers are already leading the way to energy efficiency through innovation, competition and market-oriented programs such as ENERGY STAR. Complying with unnecessary and unwarranted energy regulations does nothing to push forward energy and environmental innovation in our products. Instead, these onerous regulations (and related compliance burdens) hurt consumers and local businesses, waste taxpayer money, and will only shift manufacturer’s attention and resources away from creating innovative products.
 
Consider the progress made – without mandatory regulations:
 
  • Television energy efficiency gains are staggering; the amount of power needed per unit of screen size fell 63 percent for LCD TVs from 2003 to 2010 and fell 41 percent for plasma TVs from 2008 to 2010. In the future, LEDs and OLEDs promise ever better energy efficiency saving.
  • Since 2006, game console manufacturers have reduced the electrical power required for HD gaming by over 50 percent – achieved without a mandatory or voluntary power cap.
  • Computer energy efficiency has doubled every 1.57 years – and is expected to continue at this pace for the foreseeable future.
 
CEC Regulations = Flawed Analyses, Exaggerated “Problems” and Overestimated Energy Savings.
 
Since 2006, we have witnessed a troubling pattern regarding the CEC’s regulatory approach to consumer electronics. Three independent analyses discovered the use of old data, math errors and exaggerated energy savings, all of which collectively tipped the scales in favor of regulation. Despite repeated meetings, testimony and public comments; the CEC has refused to acknowledge these flaws or correct the public record.
 
2011 – CEC Issues Regulations for Battery Chargers
 
2009 – CEC Issues Regulations for Televisions
  • Independent Analysis: A Review  of the 2011 and 2013 Digital Television Energy Efficiency Regulations Developed and Adopted by the California Energy Commission
  • Public comments to the CEC
 
2006 – CEC Issues Regulations for Audio and Video Products
  • Independent Analysis: Assessment of Analyses Performed for the California Energy Efficiency Regulations for Consumer Electronics Products

 



AB 1850 Would Have Helped to Improve California’s Regulatory Framework.


 
We strongly supported Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon’s legislation (AB 1850) that would have updated and reformed the Warren-Alquist Act to improve the regulatory framework supporting energy efficiency. The CEC’s authority regarding appliance efficiency standards has not changed significantly in more than 30 years, but the energy-using product and equipment landscape certainly has.
 
As introduced, AB 1850 would have helped to ensure that regulatory standards did not harm employment, competition or product innovation. According to the bill’s sponsor (opinion-editorial published in Capitol Weekly):
 
“If we expect industry to demonstrate good environmental stewardship, government must demonstrate a sound and reasonable regulatory approach. California must also be a good partner by not adding an unnecessary layer of regulation to hamper California businesses in a challenging economy.”
 
AB 1850 was defeated in August 2012. Opposition was led by the CEC, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). As the bill moved through the legislative process in California, key provisions in the original bill were struck. The remaining regulatory reform provisions in the final version of AB 1850 – requiring the state to use current data and eliminating outdated and ineffective regulations – were ultimately eliminated by State Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego).

 
Other states, meanwhile, are not following California and have rejected similar energy mandates.
 
State
 
Bill No. (Year)
 
 Mandatory standards and regulations for consumer audio and/or video products
 
AZ HB 2390 (2005) Rejected
CT HB 5523 (2006) Rejected
HI HB 3050 (2006) Rejected
MD SB 674 (2007) Rejected
RI SB 2844 (2006) &
HB 7610 (2006) Rejected
TN HB 46 (2007) & SB 827 (2007) Rejected
TX SB 16 (2009) & SB 12 (2007) Rejected
VT HB 253 (2006) Rejected
WA HB 2758 (2008) Rejected