Viewpoints

Bill was a step forward on energy

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington, Va.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington, Va.

Assembly Bill 2581 was a modest but important effort to improve California’s energy-efficiency rule-making process and ensure the state’s energy savings and environmental goals are actually achieved.

In their recent attack on the legislation (“California must continue to lead on home energy efficiency,” Viewpoints, Oct. 6), the Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Action conveniently skirt over some key points.

The bill passed the state Assembly unanimously and nearly the state Senate as well. Are the authors willing to state these legislators are opposed to improving energy efficiency and reducing electricity bills?

The law currently governing the energy efficiency of consumer electronics products in California was written to regulate the energy efficiency of air conditioners and refrigerators and has not been updated significantly in decades. AB 2581 would have given more flexibility to state policymakers addressing the energy efficiency of modern electronics such as computers, displays, network devices, game consoles and servers.

Despite his veto, Gov. Jerry Brown did not signal opposition to the reforms contained in the bill. In fact, he instructed the California Energy Commission to work with the supporters of AB 2581 to have the provisions of the legislation implemented by the commission.

A recent study of consumer electronics’ energy consumption shows their share of a typical U.S. household’s electricity bill has dropped, even while the number of devices in households has risen, thanks to innovation, competition and the Energy Star program. AB 2581 would have addressed modern realities such as this by instructing the energy commission to consider the most current data on devices and allowing it to adopt a process for the repeal or suspension of a standard that it finds duplicative or inconsistent with federal or state law.

Groups such as the Consumer Federation and Consumer Action rely on ignorance and half-truths to further their political agenda, while misleading the public.

Fortunately, simple Internet searches using energy-efficient devices quickly reveal the truth about AB 2581 – a nearly unanimous Legislature supported its reforms, the governor directed the state to implement these changes and all Californians will benefit from the resulting energy savings.

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington, Va.

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