California to Ban Power-Sucking Big Screen TVs Next Month


Photo via Plasma Big Screen TV

In what's sure to be a contentious issue, California is moving to ban on energy-hogging big screen TVs. The idea first picked up steam earlier this year, but now it's looking more and more like a sure thing: the Golden State will be the first in the nation to enact such a ban.The fight isn't quite over yet, but the California Energy Commission seems steadfast in its decision to cut out the huge power-users. From the LA Times:

The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.
A vote on whether or not to implement the regulations, which will put a limit on how much energy big screen TVs can consume, will come as soon as November 4th. The rule would actually be nothing new for California, which is the nation's leading pioneer on energy efficiency--the state already has such rules on refrigerators, air conditioners, and other appliance. As a result, California's per capita energy consumption levels have remained about the same since the 1970s--while every single other state saw their levels rise by up to 40%.

While many in the TV business are concerned that the regulations will hurt sales, others remain undaunted, and feel the new efficiency regulations should be easy to meet.

On top of everything, the CEC is determined to make the regulations come at zero cost to the consumer--and the group feels that limiting the amount a big screen TV sucks down will actually help, not hinder the economy:

"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."
As has been the case before in California, the regulation will likely spur product innovation, and prices will fall on energy efficient big screen TVs. Nothing is likely to change much, except for an initial cost to TV companies to improve their products--and the major energy savings for the entire state. As Jaymi reported yesterday, the TV energy efficiency standards will save enough energy to power 1 million homes and will cut CO2 emissions by 3.5 million tons.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

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