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California regulators outlaw power-hungry TVs

November 18, 2009 |  1:34 pm

The California Energy Commission, after two years of study, voted unanimously to ban the sale of large-format televisions that use too much electricity. It approved standards that would set maximum power consumption for TVs of up to 58 inches beginning Jan. 1, 2011.

Those standards would be tightened two years later to require a 50% reduction in the number of watts. Buyers of new TVs would save approximately $30 a year over the 10-year life of a set, the commission estimates, and statewide savings over a decade would be $8.1 billion. Additionally, the state would be relieved of the need to build a large power plant, saving approximately $600 million more.

"It looks like a very good deal for society," said Commissioner Arthur H. Rosenfeld, an energy efficiency pioneer who helped California put its first efficiency standards in place on refrigerators in the 1970s.

Some television manufacturers, notably market leader Vizio Inc. of Irvine, say they will have no trouble complying with the new standards. But, the Consumer Electronics Assn., an industry trade group, has complained that the California rules would stifle technological innovation and are arbitrary.

Read more on California's new standards for TVs.

-- Marc Lifsher