California May Pass Nation's First Energy Consumption Regulation On Big Screen TVs

As soon as next month, California may become the first state to implement energy consumption rule for big screen TV sets similar to the ones for refrigerators and air conditioners. A trade group has been adamantly opposing it, reports the Los Angeles Times, but hasn’t found much sympathy from the California Energy Commission, which may be able to avoid building a $600 million natural gas power plant if they can cut back on energy guzzling sets.

On Tuesday, executives and consultants for the Arlington, Va., trade group asked members of the California Energy Commission to instead let consumers use their wallets to decide whether they want to buy the most energy-saving new models of liquid-crystal display and plasma high-definition TVs.

[...]

The association’s views weren’t shared by everyone in the TV business. Representatives of some TV makers, including top-seller Vizio Inc. of Irvine, said they would have little trouble complying with tighter state standards without substantially increasing prices.

[...]

“We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy,” said Commissioner Julia Levin, who has been in charge of the two-year rule-making procedure. “This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs.”

This is one case where tighter rules on power consumption could actually benefit consumers instead of just drive up costs—the commission says that the average first-year savings from less power-hungry sets would be an estimated $30 per set.

Here’s a chart from CNET that compares average power consumption for dozens of HDTV models, but it’s a couple of years old. Here’s another article from 2008 that provides some general info on how much energy a typical 42″ set uses.

“California appears poised to be first to ban power-guzzling big-screen TVs” [Los Angeles Times]
(Photo: Rennett Stowe)