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California Rolls Out Energy Saving Measures

California is facing a power emergency in the wake of record high temperatures. Air conditioning units across the state are set on "high" and consumers are being urged to conserve electricity by curbing non-essential use.

The new "L.E.D." traffic signals being installed in Los Angeles, California will save the city millions of dollars in energy costs, says Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

"It has been proven that L.E.D. modules consume 90 percent less energy than regular bulbs."

L.E.D.'s -- or, light-emitting diodes -- are more efficient than today's incandescent bulbs because they shed less heat. The city is spending $4 million to begin replacing lights at all 4,600 of its intersections. It will take five years, but is expected to save $2.2 million per year. Conserving electricity has become a critical issue in California this month with record electrical use in the wake of record high temperatures.

Mayor Villaraigosa adds, "With the current heat wave upon us the conservation of energy is very important. I want to encourage all of the residences of the city of Los Angeles to cut their energy and electricity usage."

Another way California is attempting to save electricity is by alerting consumers to the presence of so-called "energy vampires" in their homes. Nearly everything plugged into a wall socket -- from toasters to cell phone chargers -- drains away about two dollars worth of "standby" power each year. California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine says it adds up to huge savings.

With about 20 energy draining devices in the average American home -- and about 125 million households nationwide -- up to $5 billion in energy per year is being wasted. Levine wants to see electronic devices labeled so consumers will know before buying them how much energy the products burn when in standby mode.

The American Electronics Association opposes the labeling plan, saying it has a better idea. "We feel it's better to educate and to tell consumers that when something is plugged in, even if it's used or not being used, it's sucking energy" said spokesman Joe Gregorich.

And that also shows up on the utility bill.