Feds reach deal to cut energy use of TV boxes

The Department of Energy has reached a deal with environmental and business groups on new energy efficiency standards for cable and satellite television boxes. 

The agreement will save about $1 billion in energy costs for more than 90 million American homes each year, the department said, but won’t lead to new regulations. Instead, the energy efficiency standards will be voluntary.

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The energy saved will be enough to power 700,000 homes, the department estimated.

“The set-top box efficiency standards will save families money by saving energy, while delivering high quality appliances for consumers that keep pace with technological innovation,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement on Monday.

The department reached the agreement along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Appliance Standard Awareness Project, the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

The agreement will improve efficiency on the TV boxes by 10 to 45 percent, depending on the type of box, over the next three years. By 2017, about 90 percent of the set-top boxes in American homes will work as well as the most energy efficient boxes currently on the market.

According to Consumer Electronics Association head Gary Shapiro, the voluntary agreement “accommodates both rapid evolution and energy efficiency for this product category and demonstrates our industry’s commitment in leading the way to provide consumers with products that reduce energy consumption and save money.”

Major cable and satellite providers like Verizon, Comcast and Dish Network signed on the agreement.

“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,” Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) in a statement. 

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