California Wants To Cut Down TV Energy


"We have an iPod that you can play on this special JVC TV," says David Kline, from JVC.

Marketers from JVC are frustrated over regulations proposed by the California Energy Commission that would limit how much power televisions can use in this state. For this 42-inch TV, the limit is 115 watts; anything over would be banned, which JVC says virtually eliminates about one-quarter of the market.

"This TV is very efficient, but it uses 127 watts. So it would no longer be able to be sold here in California. We pulled this set off the market," says Kline.

The state is looking for ways to save energy to relieve the power grid and ultimately cut down on greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

An energy commission analysis found flat screens are energy hogs. LCDs on average, use about 43-percent more electricity than older, conventional sets. Plasmas are worse, needing over three times as much power.

Televisions, in general, account for about 10-percent of the average Californian's monthly electricity bill.

"Consumers are the drivers in this market. Consumers tell us that they want an energy efficient television. So they are the ones voting with their dollars," says Adam Gottlieb, from the California Energy Commission.

The electronics industry warns the new power standards could mean California would lose out on $50 million annually in sales tax money because consumers will either go online or to other states to buy what they want.

"To artificially take away a chunk of products on the store shelves also impacts jobs. We estimate 4,600 jobs across the state that are tied to the sales of televisions would be lost as a result of the proposal," says Douglas Johnson, from the Consumer Electronics Association.

But California has always been a leader in energy conservation where manufacturers often re-configure their products to comply with stricter state rules. Power consumption here is among the lowest per capita in the country.

"We've got more people in California than we did 30 years ago, yet because of standards we've been able to keep consumption absolutely flat," said Gottlieb.

The state energy commission is expected to decide on the television power limits this summer.


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