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CEA Slams Calif. Decision on ‘Broken’ Energy Policies

California Senate quashes AB 1850; CEA accuses California Energy Commission of using “old data to justify new regulations and claim energy savings when little or none actually existed.”


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Saying California has a “broken energy efficiency regulatory process,” the Consumer Electronics Association assailed a decision by the California State Senate to strike down Assembly Bill 1850.

That legislation would have provided oversight of the California Energy Commission (CEC), which has authority to regulate the energy efficiency of CE appliances – such as plasma TVs, on which the commission famously imposed harsh limitations in 2009. (CEA fought that battle, too.)

CEA VP of technology policy Doug Johnson says, “Reforms such as those outlined in AB 1850 are critical to ensuring a fair, balanced and rigorous approach on the CEC’s desire to regulate computers, servers, game consoles, imaging equipment and other high tech devices.”

He accuses the CEC in three separate rulemakings of using “old data to justify new regulations and claim energy savings when little or none actually existed.”

Bad data creates a two-fold problem, he says: Taxpayers must pay for “unnecessary regulation” and the resulting regulations could undermine energy efficiency and emissions reduction policy goals.

As CEA puts it, AB 1850 would have required the state to use current data and eliminate outdated and ineffective regulations. It would have put checks and balances into place for energy-related regulations and assured that "proposed standards do not significantly affect retail prices and do not burden small- and medium-sized businesses, competition, and interstate and intrastate commerce."

Opposition to AB 1850 was led by the CEC, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and the bill ultimately was defeated by State Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), according to the CEA.

California has been one of the most aggressive states in the country when it comes to energy regulation, for example, passing the controversial Title 24, which mandates occupancy sensors in high-trafficked areas of the home (among other things).

Introduced by Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon (D- Whittier), AB 1850 originally had nine “common-sense” provisions, the CEA explains:

Protection of economic growth and innovation: AB 1850 required an Energy Commission finding that proposed regulations do not harm employment, competition, consumer choice, or product innovation and utility.

Protection for California consumers and small businesses: AB 1850 required an Energy Commission finding that proposed standards do not significantly affect retail prices and do not burden small- and medium-sized businesses, competition, and interstate and intrastate commerce.

Real-world economic factors
: AB 1850 required that discount rates, payback calculations, and life-cycle cost estimates use interest rates that are applicable to consumer financing and the average life of the product before replacement.

Quality of data used to justify regulations
: AB 1850 required the Energy Commission to use the most current data possible and, wherever feasible, use data not older than one year prior to the commencement of a formal rulemaking.

Policy choice flexibility
: AB 1850 authorized Energy Commission standards for minimum levels of operating efficiency but only where less restrictive, non-regulatory or regulatory alternatives are not feasible.

Reduction of compliance burdens
: AB 1850 required Energy Commission policy outcomes that are designed to minimize regulatory compliance burdens.

Elimination of regulations no longer needed
: AB 1850 explicitly allowed for the elimination of Energy Commission regulations that were no longer necessary.

Recognition of the energy-saving attributes of products
: AB 1850 required Energy Commission analysis that accounts for the energy-saving attributes of electronics used for activities such as Internet commerce, online meetings, telework, and smart grid.

Objectivity of retained consultants
: AB 1850 required the Energy Commission to determine the expertise, objectivity and independence of retained consultants.




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Article Topics

News · Home Automation and Control · Energy Management · Legal · Regulation · California · Cea · Title 24 · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

10 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by J. Nap  on  08/22  at  02:59 PM

I am glad they did strike it down. It sounded as if they wanted all power regulations eliminated. Cal. has enough power problems without adding more.

Posted by Robert  on  08/22  at  05:03 PM

Sounds about right, anything that would truly make sense is frowned upon out here.  Keep in mind these are the same people who killed thousands of acres of farmland and jobs to make it some little insignificant fish would have enough water in some stream.  BTW Title 24 requires Vacancy Sensors in those locations and will not accept an Occupancy Sensor.

cheers

Posted by Martin W  on  08/23  at  10:51 AM

I wonder…

How much of this insanity included the “smartmeter” to be foisted on us? 

Obviously it’s out of control (literally), and sets us a part knowing we don’t need to be watched a minimum of 45 times a day.

Posted by Brent Butterworth  on  08/28  at  10:05 AM

The first two provisions, in particular, seem to be so broad that they could be used to strike down any proposed energy-consumption regulation. Provision #7, also quite broad, appears benign but could be used as a tool to eliminate practically any existing regulation. As a California resident, I would prefer that we reduce consumption rather than build new power-generating plants. The need for conservation is even more acute now that it appears San Onofre may never come back online. I would ask anyone who disagrees to specify the sites where we’re going to build the power plants necessary to accommodate 20 million more people (50% increase in current population) by 2050 at current per-capita rates of energy consumption.

Posted by Martin W  on  08/28  at  03:13 PM

Butterworth:

You prefer to to reduce consumption…

Here in the Las Vegas valley people did that and they were rewarded with higher fees for everything, isn’t hat nice of the power company?

You prefer to to reduce consumption…

Should we start hanging sheets again?  What is it people should do to satisfy you types?

As a California resident…

Do you know they are nearly completing 3 steam plants at the bottom of the Nipton pass, similar to the Barstow plant built years ago.

Gee, I’m so happy I escaped the CA madness 10 years ago…as they say in the Corporate World…best of luck, but be sure to “invest in those pesky little auto light switches! cool smile

Posted by Brent Butterworth  on  08/28  at  04:49 PM

Not sure what you mean by “hanging sheets,” but I know a slippery slope when I see one. I’m happy that you’re happy with your new life in Las Vegas.

Posted by Marty W  on  08/29  at  11:04 AM

Sorry B,

Got 2 messages mixed…what I meant was:

To save energy, should we not use the dryer and hang sheets outside?

Posted by Brent Butterworth  on  08/29  at  11:28 AM

Yes. Two years ago, I started hanging my clothes on a clothesline whenever time permits (and in L.A., it usually takes only 2 hours to dry almost anything). My clothes last longer, and between that and lowering the temperature on my hot water heater so I have just enough hot water to take one nice, long shower, I cut my gas bills by about 65%. Using a clothesline takes only a few extra minutes and gives me some exercise. My mom did it when I was growing up, my grandmother did it, and I can do it, too. Quite often, it doesn’t take much sacrifice or effort to save a lot of energy. Sadly, we have gotten to the point where many Americans think they are above even the slightest sacrifice and effort.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  08/29  at  11:41 AM

Oh, come on, Brent ... “hot water heater”? If the water was hot, it wouldn’t need heating!

Posted by Brent Butterworth  on  08/29  at  11:47 AM

Sorry, that’s what my mother calls it. I can’t break the habit!

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