California commission advances proposal to make TVs more energy efficient

A California state agency has released draft language of a proposal to impose a set of new energy efficiency standards on televisions sold to consumers, with the first stage required in 2011 and the second slated for the beginning of 2013.

According to the California Energy Commission, nearly 10 percent of the electricity used in California homes is consumed by televisions, in conjunction with DVRs, DVD players and set-top boxes.

As HDTV has grown increasingly popular with consumers and one or more large flat-panel televisions find a place in an increasing number of California homes, the commission is worried about the increased demand for electricity.

The standard being considered would apply to sets sold in California after Jan. 1, 2011. The first stage of the standard would require a 33 percent reduction in average TV energy consumption. The second stage of the proposed standard, which takes effect in 2013, would require a drop in TV energy consumption of 49 percent when compared to that of today’s sets.

In announcing the proposed standards, the commission said that as of this summer, about 850 models of televisions already met the 2011 standard for energy consumption. Of those, 231 met the 2013 standard.

In response to the draft language, the Consumer Electronics Association expressed disappointment. “Independent studies show millions in tax revenue and thousands of jobs are at stake,” said CEA senior director of technology policy Doug Johnson. “Three state legislators called for a joint legislative hearing on the economic harm of these proposed regulations, yet the CEC has ignored legislative input and released draft regulations before that hearing could take place.”

A public hearing on the proposal is planned for Oct. 13 in Sacramento. A report in The Los Angeles Times indicates that the commission is expected to approve the proposal in November.