California Will Regulate Battery Chargers – ‘Vampire’ Units Waste Up to 13% of State’s Power

Posted by at 1:40 pm on January 18, 2012

On Friday, the California Energy Commission issued new guidelines and set energy efficiency standards for battery chargers used to power cellphones, notebooks, power tools, and other devices. The commission hopes to reduce the total energy consumed by chargers, which are typically always left plugged in, even when a device is not being recharged, by 40 percent. Once fully implemented, the new standard could potentially reduce carbon emissions in the state by one million metric tons of carbon emissions and save California residents more than $300 million annually in electricity costs, according to officials.

The Commission estimates that nearly two thirds of the electricity used by battery chargers and battery chargers systems is wasted by inefficiency. There are an estimated 170 million chargers in California households, each with an average of 11 battery chargers. The proposed standards can save nearly 2,200 gigawatt hours of electricity each year, or enough energy to power nearly 350,000 homes, the organization said.

The new standards will be implemented in stages between February 1, 2013 and January 1, 2017. They will apply to chargers for everything from small household items like razors and toothbrushes to cellphones, cameras, notebooks, tablets, and even small electric vehicles like golf carts. Consumer chargers used in cellphones, personal care devices, and power tools will have to meet the new standards by February 2013. Industrial chargers for vehicles such as forklifts will have to comply by January 2014. Compliance for small commercial chargers such as walkie talkies and portable barcode scanners will be required by January 2017.

The standards have the support of both environmentalist groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, and power generation companies including Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison.

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