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Canada’s New Government Standing Up Against Standby Power


Victoria - The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced that Canada’s New Government will put in place standards to limit the amount of power consumed by products in standby mode. Energy-efficiency regulations are a proven way to reduce consumption and protect the environment.

Standby power is the electricity consumed by items such as televisions, CD players, computers and microwaves - even when they are turned off. Although the electricity consumption is minimal - usually between one watt and 20 watts - a typical Canadian home could have 25 or more devices that are consuming electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is estimated that standby power accounts for as much as 10 percent of the average household’s annual electricity consumption.

“If all the products that use standby power were limited to one watt, the average household’s electricity bill would drop by at least $35 a year,” said Minister Lunn. “Consumers will start to see these savings once the regulations come into effect and they begin to replace older products with new, more efficient models.”

It is estimated the savings would equal the amount of electricity needed to power 400,000 homes. Emissions reductions would be equivalent to taking a large coal-fired power generating unit offline.

Canada’s action reflects a growing international movement to address the energy wasted by standby power, and supports the “1-Watt Initiative” promoted by the International Energy Agency. This initiative, which urges a one-watt standby power limit for all energy-using products, was endorsed by the G8 leaders at their 2005 summit in Gleneagles, and standby power was also discussed at the North American Energy Ministers’ meeting in Victoria.

Given the extensive trade in consumer electronics between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, Canada is encouraging its North American partners to adopt similar standards for standby power to save even more energy and facilitate trade.

Canada’s regulations for standby power will be implemented in two steps, with the first standard being put in place in 2008 to address standby power in consumer electronic devices, followed by a more stringent standard in 2010. Consultations with stakeholders on how the standards will be set and implemented are already underway.


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