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By Samuel R. Avro on Jan 5, 2009 with no responses

Flat Screen TV’s To Be Energy Regulated in California

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The latest in sleek LCD and plasma flat screen TV's may be hogging an abundant amount of energy.

That 65″ plasma flat-screen TV hanging in your living room may be sucking up an enormous amount of energy, and lawmakers in California want that to change, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Regulators are seeking approval on a bill that would mandate all retailers to sell only energy efficient TV models starting in about two years. Experts expect the regulations to pass sometime this year despite opposition from the consumer electronics industry.

The California Energy Commission says that the standards, once fully in place, would reduce the state’s annual energy needs by an amount equivalent to the power consumed by more than 86,000 residences.

During major television events such as the Super Bowl, TVs in the state collectively suck up the equivalent of 40% of the power generated by the San Onofre nuclear power station running at full capacity. Televisions also account for roughly 10% of the average Californian’s monthly household electricity bill.

“I think this is basically doable,” said Energy Commission member Arthur Rosenfeld. “Refrigerators and air conditioner manufacturers have grown up with standards, and, now, they are generally considered successes. But this is a new wrinkle for the TV industry,” he said.

California, the nation’s most populous state, has been suffering from major strains on their power grid and are constantly on the lookout for methods of energy conservation. During spells of hot weather, consumers are issued alerts to prevent blackouts from occurring.

Manufacturers and wholesalers, however, remain skeptical of the proposal. “We can accomplish this without regulation as a result of innovation and voluntary approaches,” Doug Johnson, senior director of technology at the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington, Virginia, told the paper.

The Consumer Electronics Association presented three different scenarios if some of the current technology would be banned from being sold in stores. They presented case studies showing 10%, 20% and 30% of TV’s failing the grade and what the financial fallout would look like for the state.

If 30% of televisions fail to meet standards and can’t be sold, California could lose $130 million in tax revenue and 15,800 jobs, an association economist said.

However, a member of the energy commission wasn’t buying it. This is similar to the “arguments we heard from General Motors and Ford that SUVs are more profitable to make and create more jobs,” said Mr. Rosenfeld.

If the regulations were to pass, they would be implemented statewide during a two-year period starting in 2011 and ending with a second tier in 2013.