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US Power Consumption Drops to 2001 Level

FILE - New "smart" meter, right, will give customers, who are already using less energy, the opportunity to save money by accurately tracking consumption.
Beginning January 1, U.S. businesses will no longer be allowed to manufacture or import 60 and 40 watt incandescent light bulbs, whose glowing metal filament is notoriously inefficient, using only 5 percent of power for producing light while wasting the rest as heat.
Because of tougher regulations adopted in early 2000s, the use of electricity in American homes has dropped for a third year in a row, to the levels of more than a decade ago.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers says power-hungry appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, water heaters and air-conditioners now use much less energy. Another factor is the drop in prices of insulated windows and other building materials that reduce energy loss.
The association says some LED TVs are as much as 80 percent more efficient than classic cathode ray tube sets.
Mobile computer devices have also helped. Electric Power Research Institute says the power for an iPad costs only $1.36 per year while powering a desktop computer may cost almost $30 annually.
As new LED light bulbs are slowly replacing the classic ones the U.S. Department of Energy says it could help save as much energy as the output of 44 large power plants by 2027.