The LA Times reports California state regulators are getting ready to curb the growing “power gluttony” of flat-screen TV sets by drafting the nation’s first rules requiring retailers to sell only the most energy-efficient models, starting in 2011.
The consumer electronics industry opposes the regulations, expected to pass in mid-2009, and claims that they could remove some TVs from store shelves and slightly boost sticker prices.
Said the story: “But the California Energy Commission is looking for ways to relieve the strain on the power grid. Officials say the standards, once fully in place, would reduce the state’s annual energy needs by an amount equivalent to the power consumed by 86,400 homes.
During a peak viewing time when most sets are on, such as the Super Bowl, TVs in the state collectively suck up the equivalent of 40% of the power generated by the San Onofre nuclear power station running at full capacity. Televisions account for about 10% of the average Californian’s monthly household electricity bill.
Some manufacturers could struggle to meet the new standards, particularly those that make plasma TVs. And the regulations could create a "gray" market, sending consumers intent on buying power-hungry models to Amazon.com and other Internet retailers based outside the state.
Sales of television sets are growing by 4 million a year, the vast majority of them flat-panels. LCD — liquid crystal display — sets use 43% more electricity, on average, than conventional tube TVs; larger models use proportionately more. Plasma TVs, which command a relatively small share of the market, need more than three times as much power as bulky, old-style sets.
The regulations would be phased in over two years, with a first tier taking effect on Jan. 1, 2011, and a more stringent, second tier on Jan. 1, 2013. Purchasers of Tier 1-compliant TVs would shave an average of $18.48 off their residential electric bill in the first year of ownership, the Energy Commission estimates. Tier 2 sets would save an additional $11.76 a year.”