Can California TV regulations hurt already troubled economy?

In California, a proposed regulation on certain big screen TVs that do not meet energy standards will hurt the already troubled economy, according to a coalition of California small businesses, associations and consumers.

Californians for Smart Energy, a coalition launched today, argues that the state’s regulations on certain TVs would effectively ban the sale of 25% of current big screen TVs, and 100% of plasma screens over 60-inches.

The group states a Resolution Economics, LLC study which estimates the California Energy Commission’s regulation could cost California $50 million in lost tax revenues and eliminate 4,600 jobs.

The group also argues that regulations will only force California-based TV manufacturers to move outside the state, and prompt Californians to purchase non-energy-compliant TVs on the internet.

However, the California Energy Commission (CEC) says it is not banning any type of TV and says “Consumers have the freedom to choose any type and size of television that meets the efficiency standard.”

According to the CEC there are close to 850 television models which already meet the 2011 standards, of which 231 reach further regulations to be set in 2013. (Here is the list of TVs meeting CA efficiency standards.)

The CEC also says the regulations will not affect televisions which already exist in homes, only those TVs sold in California after January 1, 2011. And, the energy regulations will save consumers money on their electricity bill as well as protect the environment.

But the coalition argues the nationwide Energy Star program is enough to regulate energy usage, without needing additional state regulations.

“This regulation is unnecessary because of the tremendous success of the federal government’s existing ENERGY STAR program,” said Doug Johnson, Senior Director of Technology Policy and International Affairs for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

He added, “The industry wants to work with California to reach its energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission goals, but we firmly believe that this regulation is the wrong approach.”

According to the CEC, there are an estimated 35 million televisions in California which consume about 8,772 gigawatt hours annually. To put that number in perspective, a gigawatt hour is equal to 40,000 TVs turned on for 5 hours a day for an entire year.

In general, CRTs use the least amount of watts. A CRT uses 0.23-watts per square inch of the screen, while an LCD uses 0.27-watts per square inch. Plasmas use the most wattage at 0.36-watts per square inch.*

*Source: California Energy Commission

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Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot

Jeff Chabot writes about technology, broadcasting, and digital entertainment. You can also find him on Gameverse, Gadget Review, and Google+.

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