Plug-In Equipment Efficiency: A Key Strategy to Help Achieve California's Carbon Reduction and Clean Energy Goals

Issue Brief
April 19, 2015

There are more than 50 electronic devices, appliances, and other miscellaneous electric loads plugged into the power outlets of the average California home. These devices are responsible for approximately twothirds of a typical household’s electric use, as illustrated in Figure 1, and plug-in equipment also consumes a significant share of the electricity in many commercial buildings. Unfortunately, much of this energy is wasted through high standby power levels when the devices are not in active use, and through equipment that is not as energy efficient as best practices allow. Given the large waste of electricity, the pollution associated with generating it, and the unnecessary cost to California’s residential and business consumers, state policymakers need to assess the problem and implement measures to enable Californians to use energy in a smarter way. Scaling up plug-in equipment efficiency measures could cut annual electricity bills by $2.5 to $4 billion for California’s consumers ($150 to $250 per household) and businesses, as well as avoid substantial amounts of pollution while helping the state meet its carbon reduction and clean energy goals.