Reporting from Sacramento — California's cellphones, tablet computers, power tools and hundreds of other portable electronic devices will be required to have energy-stingy battery chargers beginning next year.
The California Energy Commission, by a 3-0 vote Thursday, approved first-in-the-nation efficiency standards designed to drive stakes through the hearts of about 170 million so-called vampire charging systems that waste as much as 60% of the electricity they suck from outlets.
The regulations, which generated strong opposition from appliance and consumer products makers, are expected to save enough electricity to power 350,000 homes, equivalent to a city the size of Bakersfield. The rules also should shave an estimated $306 million a year off residential and commercial electricity bills.
"This means that we can have the devices that we like in our lives and that make our lives easier," said Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas. "But, by taking a few relatively simple steps to improve battery chargers, we can save so much electricity, take care of the environment and save ratepayers money."