Feinstein warns of possible regulation of television equipment

 “These ‘always on’ boxes do not have meaningful standby or sleep modes and operate at near full power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” she wrote. “As a result, these boxes cost households $3 billion annually in utility bills, with $2 billion of that expense incurred when boxes are not actively in use.”

Feinstein urged companies including AT&T, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network, TimeWarner Cable and Verizon to phase out their energy inefficient equipment and begin offering models with power-saving modes.

"An industry initiative to distribute boxes that use electricity when necessary would greatly benefit consumers, and it could have a substantial impact on energy use almost immediately," she wrote.

She warned that if the companies did not voluntary follow her advice, the government might step in and force them to provide the energy-efficient devices.

"If such an initiative does not materialize, the Federal government will have an obligation to regulate the efficiency of these boxes in the interest of American consumers," she wrote.