New energy standards for TV irk Senator

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New energy regulations are on the way for televisions after a vote by the California Energy Commission last week, but the body’s push for stricter standards didn’t sit well with state Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).

The commission voted unanimously to require all new TVs that are 58 inches or smaller and sold in California be 33% more energy efficient by 2011.

TVs would have to be 49% more efficient by 2013.

But Huff argued that the government regulations would force unnatural industrial changes.

“The government must stop this intrusion into the lives of regular people,” Huff said in a statement. “Let the free market work. Many Californians have already made the choice to purchase energy-efficient TVs. We must let the demand dictate the industry. If it doesn’t make economic sense to a manufacturer, they will stop producing it.”

The increased efficiency standards will save $8.1 billion in energy costs over 10 years and will conserve enough power to support 864,000 single-family homes, according to the commission.

For a 42-inch TV, for example, the new restrictions would force it to operate at 183 watts or less by 2011, and 115 watts or less by 2013, according to the commission.

The changes would shave carbon-dioxide emissions by 3 million metric tons over a decade, according to Pacific Gas & Electric.

“The real winners of these new TV energy efficiencies are California consumers who will be saving billions of dollars and conserving energy while preserving their choice to buy any size or type of TV,” commission Chairwoman Karen Douglas said in a statement.

Huff countered that the standards could artificially force manufacturers to increases costs and  prices, which could push consumers to look for discounts from out-of-state retailers selling unregulated TVs.

“While the Energy Commission may demand that retailers sell only certain types of televisions in their stores, consumers will still have the freedom to buy their favorite model from an online retailer or while on a shopping trip to Las Vegas,” Huff said. “This is an especially dangerous economic time for California to lose jobs tied to TV sales, distribution and installation and there is no doubt in my mind that we will see a decline in tax revenue associated with the sale of these big-ticket items.”

The new regulations will not affect existing TVs owned by consumers, and more than 1,000 models would already meet the 2011 standards, according to the commission.

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Written by Zain Shauk

November 25, 2009 at 10:26 am

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