California passed new regulations for “vampire” battery chargers to conserve energy, forcing manufacturers to adhere to new standards and urging other states to follow suit.
The new efficiency guidelines, set by the California Energy Commission, aim to combat 170 millions of “vampire” charging systems that waste as much as 60 percent of the electricity they suck from outlets. The revised regulations require manufacturers to provide California residents with energy-efficient battery chargers to power their cell phones, tablets, power tools, toothbrushes, and other devices by 2013.
A recent study in the U.K. found the overcharging of such devices damages the battery long-term, costs consumers up to $100 extra per year in wasted electricity per household, and potentially damages the environment with unnecessary carbon emissions.
The new guidelines are a boon for environmentalists, but manufacturers are left with a difficult decision: continue to produce “vampire” chargers as well as efficient chargers just for the state of California, or overhaul their production completely and convert to the new standard.
The move could set a precedent for other states. California officials say once fully implemented, the new standards will reduce carbon emissions by one million metric tons and save residents more than $300 million in electricity costs annually.
But if manufacturers must create separate charging units just for one or two states, consumers in those states will likely wind up paying higher prices for chargers, negating some of the reported savings on their annual energy bills.
The new standards are a bold move, and California is the first state in the U.S. to take such aggressive action to conserve energy. Protecting the environment and consumers is expected make things difficult for manufacturers, but if other states follow California’s lead, they will likely have no choice but to comply.
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