utilities, retailers and manufacturers partner for efficient

Electronics manufacturers, retailers and utilities have formed a partnership to promote energy efficient electronics to consumers and businesses in California.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will work with Best Buy, Sears, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Lenovo to develop and market TVs, desktop computers and monitors that meet or exceed Energy Star efficiency standards. To help drive awareness, the business website CNET will publish product reviews that include energy efficiency criteria and the retailers will get assistance training sales staffs.

The Business and Consumer Electronics program will be administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program. Desktop computers and monitors that meet the Energy Star specification will be co-branded with both Energy Star labels and "Save" stickers. TVs that meet the advanced national standards, which are 15 percent more efficient than Energy Star, will receive a "Save More" sticker.

The utilities expect to spend about $10 to $20 per product on marketing, education and support of the program. PG&E, which is serving as technical lead on the program, has committed to spending $7 million on the campaign but the final price tag may vary depending on adoption and demand for the products.

PG&E anticipates the program will deliver 50 megawatts in energy savings through 2011. PG&E and SMUD estimate the program could save customers in the two utilities' service areas a combined 380 million kilowatt-hours over the next two years.

In 2005, small office equipment represented the largest share of energy consumption, followed by TVs, according to PG&E Spokeswoman Kathleen Romans. By 2010, set top boxes, home entertainment systems and electronics chargers will take an increasing share of consumption and could be included in the program.

"The market will change and this program will change with it," she said.

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