Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreement Expands its Reach

In a hyper competitive Pay TV marketplace, cable, DBS and telco TV providers all know that they have to continually innovate in order to compete for a spot in today’s connected home. They also know that a big part of that innovation has to come in the form of creating a more energy efficient set-top box.

That’s why we’re pleased to report that the voluntary energy conservation agreement (VA) among multichannel video providers, device manufacturers and energy advocacy groups continues to expand and progress. The agreement works to deliver energy efficiency solutions for 90 million American homes. The VA includes commitments to efficiency standards that will improve set-top box efficiency by up to 45 percent, and are expected to rack up more than $1 billion in consumer energy savings annually.

On February 25, 2014, energy advocacy representatives who joined the expanded VA in December 2013 met for the first time as voting members of the steering committee. Highlights from the meeting include:

  • Pace, plc, a major manufacturer of set-top boxes, joined the VA, further expanding its reach.
  • As part of the significant transparency and monitoring requirements of the VA, service providers will be making the energy usage of new set-top boxes available for consumers to review. For example, the new set-top boxes of the six largest cable operators are posted to a web site hosted by CableLabs Energy Lab, the lab established by the cable industry to pursue energy efficient solutions.
  • The VA also includes commitments to conduct industry-funded field verification testing. The steering committee finalized a Request for Proposal to be issued next week, seeking bids for a contractor to conduct verification testing in households to confirm that the posted efficiency levels are being achieved in the field. Potential candidates are invited to contact Paul Glist at the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine (PaulGlist@dwt.com) to request a copy of the RFP.
  • The Independent Administrator of the VA will continue its operations to assess each company’s compliance, produce an annual report, and handle many other transparency and verification functions. The Independent Administrator is already collecting the data to be used in its first annual report of progress during the first year of operation under the VA.

The Agreement Signatory organizations that participated in the meeting are (listed according to number of customers): Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems Corp., Bright House Networks and CenturyLink; manufacturers Cisco, ARRIS (including Motorola), EchoStar Technologies and Pace; and energy efficiency advocates Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which also represented its affiliate the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). The VA was embraced last year by the US Department of Energy, as it terminated its regulatory approach in favor of the VA.

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