CEA Harshly Rebukes California Energy Regulations
Yesterday, the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) released a scathing statement in response to the California State Senate appropriation committee’s decision to strike down Assembly Bill (AB) 1850. AB 1850 was a senate bill proposing additional governance over the CEC (California Energy Commission), specifically the CEC's ability to oversee the energy regulations of consumer electronics. This includes receivers, TVs, refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc… According to a statement by the CEA’s Vice President of Technology Policy, Doug Johnson, California’s energy regulatory process is “broken”, with “unnecessary regulation”, partially because of their continued use of “old data”, by which they set their regulation standards.
According to the CEA, AB 1850 would have "helped to implement common-sense measures in California’s regulatory process." A large portion of these measures were designed to reduce burdens on consumers and businesses. For example, AB 1850 required that regulations should not have a major impact on retail prices, stifle competition, or hurt employment, consumer choice, or product innovation. Other reforms in the bill required the CEC to use the most current data available and use objective and independent consultants when developing their regulations.
The CEA continues on to say that these reforms 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."
The fight against the bill was headed up by the CEC, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). One insight as to why the bill was struck down is the fiscal cost to implement the bill. A fiscal analysis of the bill concluded that AB 1850 would cost the CEC tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to collect new data for their standards.
The debate between economic growth and environmental protection is not a new one; this is especially true in California. So it seems that the debate rages on.