By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
As you might expect, a few retailers that depend on selling big-screen TVs for a living weren’t exactly all warm and fuzzy with the recent California Energy Commission’s (CEC) decision to impose energy-consumption limits on flat-panel TVs 58 inches and smaller.
An advocacy group called Californians for Smart Energy (CSE) sent around comments from some of California’s small-business owners urging other states and the federal government to avoid repeating the bureaucratic steps of the CEC.
The CSE called itself “a coalition of consumers, small businesses, trade groups and associations dedicated to smart energy policy that won’t harm the economy or destroy jobs.”
The CSE called California’s pending mandate “unjustified and harmful television regulations” and shared the following statements from a few of their CE dealer members:
“This is not a debate over philosophy - we all support energy efficiency,” said Pam Crane of Ken Crane’s Big Screen Headquarters in Los Angeles. “This is a debate over process. The CEC’s regulations are based on old data, math errors and a total disregard for Energy Star or how the consumer electronics industry operates.”
“Our industry has already voluntarily and proactively made great strides in energy efficiency,” said Leon Soo Hoo, Paradyme Sound and Vision in Sacramento. “In less than two years, the energy efficiency of Energy Star TVs has improved by 41 percent without regulations. A better way exists. The CEC’s unjustified regulations should not be replicated.”
“The CEC ignored the concerns of industry, associations and California small businesses and pushed through harmful and unnecessary regulations that will cost California $47 million a year in lost tax revenues and destroy 4,000 jobs,” said Shawn Worst of Evolution Home Theatre in San Diego. “Alternatives exist that would save as much or more energy than the CEC’s regulations - without hurting the economy, destroying jobs or hurting small businesses. We would be happy to meet with Senator Feinstein’s office, or any other elected official, to discuss our concerns and industry-supported alternatives.”
But the consternation wasn’t limited to California’s CE retailers. One of TWICE’s readers working outside of California, but fearful of any regulatory trendsetting taking shape, also had his two-cents to add (OK, maybe it’s more like two-and-a-half cents):
“Our industry has consistently demonstrated the ability to provide consumers with products and technology that meets or exceeds their expectations. Our industry is always way ahead of the politicians who usually just jump on the bandwagon after they see a particular industry trend. I recently read about a politician somewhere (probably California) who has recently introduced a bill that would ban loud commercials. Wow, this is really cutting-edge stuff; our television manufacturers have had this feature imbedded in the televisions for well over a decade,” said Scott Huffman of Independence Audio-Video in Independence, Mo. “The same thing is true with television energy consumption. Every television manufacturer is currently engineering, manufacturing and promoting energy efficient televisions on their own, without any help from anyone. But that is not good enough for the California blow-hards I guess. The politicians want to take credit for what our industry is already doing on its own.”
“Remember how Al Gore ‘created the Internet?’ Well the California politicians want to be known as the people who forced the evil electronics companies to reduce their power consumption,” Huffman continued. “This legislation is the biggest bunch of self-promoting garbage I have ever heard of. If the consumers want energy-efficient televisions, that’s what they are going to get, with or without any government intervention. It is called capitalism, and it works - or it used to anyway.”
So, how do you feel? Let us know.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.