State Energy Commission Ready To Vote On Flat Screen TV Standards

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 30, 2009
California regulators are expected to pass new, first-in-the-nation energy efficiency standards for flat screen TVs next/this week. (Wednesday, 11.04.09).   

The State Energy Commission says flat screens soak up a lot of electricity. 

But, some TV manufacturers and retailers say the standards go too far and will hurt sales. 

Capital Public Radio's Steve Shadley reports...
Californians love their TVs. There are 35-million sets in the state.

Officials say the days of one TV set in the living room are long gone. In fact, many homes have three or more sets...and sometimes they’re all turned on at once. 

I have three TVs in my home. But only one is a flat screen...

Wheel of Fortune:  (sound of contestant spinning the wheel) Pat Sajak: “Alright...” Contestant: “G”   Sajak: “Yes, there’s one G...” Sajak: “35-hundred dollars...” Contestant spins the wheel again...”

My flat screen TV measures 48 inches. So, when I’m watching “Wheel of Fortune” its using at least 200 watts of electricity. 

State Energy Commission Chairman Karen Douglas says that’s a lot of power and that’s why the state needs the new energy regulations...

Douglas:   “What these standards would do is save enough energy to avoid building a massive 650 plus megawatt power plant..."

The standards would apply to new sets sold in California starting in 2011 and would be phased-in. 

Douglas says the goal is to cut flat screen electricity consumption in half by 2013... 

Douglas:  “Another way to ook at it is how much money we are saving Californians on their electricity bills. We’ll save 8.1 billion dollars in the first ten years once the standards come into effect. It’s a lot of money that will remain in people’s pockets...”

Douglas says that will offset the fact that TV prices may go up a bit...

“Technology will save us all...” 

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is confident the industry can adjust to meet the new guidelines...
Schwarzenegger:  “
And they are building right now TV sets that need less energy and therefore we should go in that direction because the technology is available....”

Energy is a concern..but its not the only concern...”

That’s Dave Arland with the Consumer Electronics Association. It’s the largest group fighting the standards...  

“You can go to a much bigger television. And its only going to draw 140 this one is 90 percent more efficient....(fades under script)

Last spring, Arland set up about a dozen flat screen TVs in a hearing room at the State Capitol. 

He was showing off models the latest models. He says the state standards will hurt business

Arland:  "All the sets in this room...the new TVs would be illegal in this state.   And, you’re going to affect the people who sell those sets here in CaliforniaPeter Fannon is with Panasonic.  At a recent Energy Commission hearing, he said the standards aren't needed because many companies meet conservation guidelines under a voluntary program called "Energy Star."  He says when consumers see the "Energy Star" label...they know they're buying an appliance that saves electricity...

“Why waste the time and money on regulating when you can spend those resources more wisely educating.” 

The nation's largest manufacturer of flat screen TVs, California-based Vizio, supports the state's efficiency rules. 

By the way, if you own a flat screen TV like mine, don't worry.  The TV police won't be knocking on your door. 

Remember, the new standards would only apply to sets sold after 2011.