October 14, 2016

Sage Welch


Broad coalition calls on California Energy Commission to limit potential loopholes to ensure consumer, energy savings

SACRAMENTO– In a letter sent today to the California Energy Commission (CEC), business and consumer advocates joined energy experts from the California Delivers coalition to applaud the nation’s first-ever proposed energy efficiency standards to address a significant area of energy waste: computers and monitors. The diverse coalition also urged the Commission to limit worrisome loopholes before final adoption that may undercut consumer benefits.

“This standard will play an important role in helping California meet its ambitious climate goals in a cost-effective, consumer-friendly way,” said Pierre Delforge, director of high-tech sector energy efficiency at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The challenge today is to make sure the standard can withstand the light speed pace of evolution in computer and display technology. Under this proposal, there would be a 4.5-year lag time before the strongest requirements come into effect. That’s two generations in the computer world.”

If adopted, the CEC estimates the standards could save Californians $370 million on their utility bills each year. However, the coalition voiced concern that, while the proposed standard is reasonable and sorely needed, overly generous exemptions and allowances made for technologies that are considered cutting-edge today may soon be commonplace. This could eventually undercut the overall energy savings provided by the standards when they take effect several years from now.

The business community also weighed in, as computers and monitors currently represent more than 7 percent of the electricity consumption in the commercial sector, and cutting unnecessary waste promises to be a boon to businesses’ bottom line.

“Eighty percent of our members are small businesses, and keeping costs down is essential to their survival,” said Steve Frisch, president of Sierra Business Council and signatory to the letter. “They get that wasting energy wastes money. Strong standards will make all the difference, and that means the CEC will have to make sure loopholes don’t jeopardize overall energy savings.”

Consumer experts signing on to the letter were quick to point out that money saved through energy efficiency flows back into the local economy, and this is especially important for low-income families who spend a higher portion of their income on energy bills.

“Consumers have long paid the price for inefficient electronics that drive up their energy bills,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel at Consumers Union. “These standards will allow families to spend less on energy, which means they can spend more on the things they need – that’s good news for communities and the economy.”

California is home to 1 in 8 of the nation’s consumers and millions of computers are sold here each year. As no national efficiency guidelines exist for computers, California’s could become the de facto standard in the country, while also influencing international standards.

To read the letter, please visit:

California Delivers is a broad coalition of businesses, public health professionals, working families, equity organizations, consumer groups, community and faith leaders, environmental organizations, public officials, and other individuals, focused on protecting, implementing, and extending the benefits of AB 32 beyond 2020 along with other clean energy and transportation policies that benefit all Californians. Visit for more information.