Prospective buyers of prebuilt gaming PCs from Dell subsidiary Alienware were met with some rather peculiar restrictions this week, after the Dell website informed customers that people in California and five other U.S. states are now prohibited from purchasing certain models due to environmental regulations. The reasoning: These gaming PCs draw too much power.
Word of the restrictions first began circulating on message boards and social media after Dell posted a note to its online store beneath certain configurations of its Alienware computers. Dell has confirmed to Protocol that it is indeed no longer shipping those versions due to "power consumption regulations." Dell is now canceling any existing orders for customers located in the affected states, which also include Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Vermont, due to those states' similar restrictions.
For California residents, the restrictions are the byproduct of the state's Appliance Efficiency Regulations, which contain energy efficiency standards not met by the Dell Alienware Aurora R10 and R12 models. With respect to California, the regulations date back to 2016 and mark among the nation's first such regulations. Other states later adopted similar rules based in part by the standards set by the California Energy Commission.
The last of the amendments to the standards were adopted last year. That put in place a one-year grace period for manufacturers of certain products — in this case, "desktops, [all in ones] and mobile gaming systems" — to meet the energy efficiency bar. Dell says the CEC's Tier 2 regulations went into effect on July 1, meaning it had to adjust its ecommerce operation accordingly.
"Alienware has always been known for pushing the limits when it comes to innovation, performance, design and premium quality. We respect the laws of all cities, states and countries where we do business and always strive to balance power and performance with energy efficiency," a Dell spokesperson told Protocol. "While our most powerful gaming systems are available in all 50 states, it is accurate that select configurations of the Alienware Aurora R10 and R12 aren't shipping to certain states due to the recent California Energy Commission (CEC) Tier 2 regulations that went into effect on July 1, 2021. New models and configurations will meet or exceed these regulations, in line with our long-term focus to address energy and emissions."