California Passes TV Energy Limits

SACRAMENTO: The California Energy Commission has passed regulations limiting the amount of power TV sets in the state can consume. The limits have been coming down the pike for a while and were approved unanimously by the agency on Wednesday.

“In an historic and unanimous 5-0 vote, the California Energy Commission today approved the nation’s first energy efficiency standards for televisions,” the CEC said in a press release. “When these standards are implemented in 2011, new TVs sold in California will be the most energy efficient in the nation. After 10 years, the commission estimates the regulations will save $8.1 billion in energy costs and save enough energy to power 864,000 single-family homes.”

The regulations require that TVs with screens 1,400 square inches and smaller use 1 watt per hour in stand-by mode versus the current limit of 3 watts. Active-mode operation must be no more than 30 percent of screen area plus 32 by Jan. 1, 2011. As of Jan. 1, 2013, active-mode usage is limited to 12 percent of screen area times a factor of 25.

“The technology neutral standards mandate that new televisions sold in California should consume 33 percent less electricity by 2011 and 49 percent less electricity by 2013,” the CEC said. “The standards affect only those TVs with a screen size 58 inches or smaller. For example, a 42-inch screen would consume 183 watts or less by 2011 and 115 watts or less by 2013. Pacific Gas & Electric estimates that over a decade the standards will reduce CO2 emissions by 3 million metric tons.

“More than 1,000 TV models on the market today already meet the 2011 standards and cost no more than less-efficient sets. The regulations will not affect existing televisions that consumers already own or the TVs currently on retail store shelves. Stores will not be prohibited from selling existing stock of older televisions after the standards go into effect.”

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More on California’s move to rein in TV wattage:
October 14, 2009: “California Prepares to Limit TV Energy Use”
The Consumer Electronics Association implored the CEC to allow the industry to adhere to voluntary standards. Its ranks were not solid, however, with Vizio, an Irvine, Calif., TV market, saying it would be able to comply with the new standards without substantial price hikes.

2009 Appliance Efficiency Rulemaking,” Staff Report from the California Energy Commission.

September 22, 2009
: “California Seeks to Limit TV Energy Consumption”
People watching more TV on bigger screens is sucking down too much power, California’s state’s energy regulator reckons.

April 6, 2009: “California Considers HDTV Energy Consumption Limits
Energy limits would be imposed with a two-tier system that would reduce consumption around 33 percent in 2011 and 49 percent on average in 2013.