Press Releases

Senator Feinstein Calls for National Energy Efficiency Standards for Televisions

-Television usage accounts for nearly 10 percent of household energy consumption-

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has issued a call for national energy efficiency standards for televisions, one day after the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a measure that will require televisions to reduce current energy consumption by one-third by 2011 and by one-half by 2013.

Television usage accounts for nearly 10 percent of all household energy consumption.

Yesterday, Senator Feinstein sent a letter urging Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of the Department of Energy, to follow California’s lead by setting a rigorous national efficiency standard.

Below is the text of the letter sent by Senator Feinstein to Secretary Chu. Attached are the also the two charts referenced in the letter:

November 18, 2009

Secretary Steven Chu
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Secretary Chu,

I am writing to ask you to help reduce American household energy consumption by establishing national energy standards for televisions.

Televisions account for nearly 10% of energy consumption in American households, and their use of energy continues to rise. In recognition of this trend, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has today finalized standards for television energy efficiency. The standards require televisions to use one third less of current energy consumption by 2011 and half of current energy consumption by 2013.

The CEC anticipates that in California these standards will save 6,515 GWh (see first attached graph), enough to power 854,000 single-family homes for an entire year. Moreover, the CEC’s proposal has support from the environmental community, Vizio—one of the largest producers of flat panel televisions in America—and utility companies.

Increasing energy efficiency in American homes is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce energy consumption. The second attached graph from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy demonstrates that efficiency standards work. Energy consumption for appliances with standards has steadily decreased over the past few decades, while consumption for televisions has risen, especially in recent years.

Congress authorized the Department of Energy to set standards for household appliances through The Energy Policy Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA). To date standards have been set for every appliance listed in that Act except for televisions. While I appreciate successful programs such as Energy Star that have helped consumers choose better models, standards can ensure the improved efficiency of the worst performing models and reduce energy use.

California was the first state to enforce minimum efficiency requirements for refrigerators and other products in 1979. Given the success of these programs, I hope the Department will take a serious look at creating national standards for televisions which are as effective as California’s promising program.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss this important issue. I would appreciate hearing from you on this matter.


Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator


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