Calif. Commission Proposes TV Energy Standards

Officials in California are considering tougher energy efficiency standards for new, big-screen television sets. Big screen and high definition TV's draw much more electricity than the old, smaller screen, analog sets.

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Regulators in California are taking aim at all those big flat screen TVs that people have been snapping up in recent years. The televisions use a lot of electricity, so now California's Energy Commission has proposed new TV energy efficiency standards. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN: There are an estimated 35 million TV sets in California and the State Energy Commission estimates that those TVs and things consumers plug into them account for about 10 percent of the electricity used in a home. That figure could climb as people upgrade to larger screens and HDTVs, which consume more energy. The Energy Commission's proposal would impose tougher energy standards on TV sets sold beginning in 2011. The agency's Adam Gottlieb says the price of the TVs shouldn't increase, but consumers would reap savings on their electric bill.

Mr. ADAM GOTTLIEB (California Energy Commission): We are looking at putting these regulations into place to save Californians between $50 and $250 on their television over the life of the television. So if you have more than one TV in your home, you're looking at a significance savings.

KAUFMAN: While the proposal has the support of some TV makers and the state's largest electric utilities, the Consumer Electronics Association says the proposed standards are unnecessary and unwise and could prompt retailers to cut back on merchandise, reducing the number of jobs. Moreover, the association's Doug Johnson says Americans are already choosing new TVs that meet EPA's voluntary Energy Star standards.

Mr. DOUG JOHNSON (Consumer Electronics Association): That's great for energy savings. It's a testament to competitiveness. So what we have with Energy Star really is a well-functioning government program.

KAUFMAN: The California proposal will be voted on this summer.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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