Press Releases

Feinstein Statement on Energy Efficient Set-Top Boxes

Agreement will cut energy use for 90 million U.S. households; save consumers billions; improve set-top box efficiency by 10 to 45 percent

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on an agreement reached by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association to improve energy efficiency standards for pay-TV set-top boxes.

The agreement will improve set-top box efficiency by 10 to 45 percent (depending on box type) by 2017, and is expected to save more than $1 billion on consumer energy bills annually. The agreement also pledges to field test boxes that shut down when not in use and to begin deploying these boxes in 2016 if technically feasible.

Senator Feinstein initiated the call for energy efficient set-top boxes, calling on the country’s television providers to improve efficiency in order to cut energy use in 2011.

Senator Feinstein said: “In 2011, I urged the CEOs of every major television service provider to work together to introduce more energy efficient set-top boxes. At the time, set-top boxes were costing Americans $3 billion in electricity charges each year—with $2 billion wasted when televisions were not being used.

“Today’s voluntary announcement demonstrates the television industry took this matter seriously, and I commend industry and efficiency advocates for agreeing to make 90 percent of all set-top boxes as efficient as today’s most energy efficient boxes by 2017. This will cut box energy consumption by 10-45 percent and save consumers $1 billion per year. To put that in perspective, this amount of energy savings would eliminate the need for three power plants and prevent 5 million tons of CO2 emissions per year.

“This is a big win for nearly every American who pays a monthly television bill because experts tell me that federal standards could not have produced this much financial and energy savings by 2017. This agreement lasts until 2017, and I intend to monitor the situation carefully to ensure the industry remains committed to building on today’s substantial progress in future years.”

The new set-top box efficiency commitments announced today will ultimately save enough electricity each year to power 700,000 homes. The standards will also avoid more than five million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. The agreement runs through 2017. Efficiency gains after that date will require a future agreement or federal regulations.