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California Removes Larger TVs from Energy Regulation ... For Now

September 18, 2009 By Janet Pinkerton
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California's specialty a/v retailers gained some ground as the California Energy Commission (CEC) seeks to regulate TV energy efficiency in the state. The revised CEC regulations, posted early today, excludes larger  - and more profitable televisions  - 58 inches and up, from its proposed energy efficiency restrictions.

For televisions under 58 inches, or less than 1,400 square inches in monitor area, the CEC's regulations would require a 1 Watt maximum power usage in stand-by mode, and set limits to "on mode" power usage calculated by screen size. The first tier of rules would come into effect January 1, 2011. On January 1, 2013, "on mode" efficiency requirements become even more stringent.  For example, a 42-inch HDTV with a 748.7 square-inch screen area would be allowed a maximum "on-mode" power usage of 182 Watts in the Tier 1 standard effective January 1, 2011, but that maximum drops to 175 Watts on January 1, 2013 with the Tier 2 standard.

Currently, California requires 3-Watt maximum standby power for televisions and has no "on mode" maximum power standard. The CEC estimates California will see energy savings of about $4.8million over the ten years after the Tier 1 standard becomes effective and $3,339 million over the 10 years after Tier 2 becomes effective

The CEC excluded larger TVs, 58-inches and up, from this proposed energy efficiency standard in direct response to specialty retailers' concerns that large-screen high performance TV models meeting the energy efficiency standards would not be available by the proposed effective dates. The CEC wrote, "Specifically, many small retailers are high-end, specialty home entertainment providers that sell models that are customized as part of a home theater installation and they cannot afford to lose customers in the current economic environment."

The CEC standards apply to what manufacturers make for sale in California starting in 2011, not to retail inventories. The CEC noted, "Thus, all televisions built before the effective date but still located at a manufacturer's or distributor's warehouse or sitting on a retailer's shelf or back storage room after the effective date of the standard can still be sold."

Today's posting of the revised proposal opens a public comment period that ends Oct. 12, in advance of an Oct. 13 public hearing on the draft. A second hearing, and proposed adoption date, is slated for Nov. 4th. The CEC may develop energy efficiency regulations for the larger television sizes in a second, separate rule-making process.

Other requirements included in the current CEC TV proposal draft:
 

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