CEA: CEC Used ‘Inaccurate Study' On TV Power Regs


New York - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) charged that the California Energy Commission (CEC) decision to require TVs smaller than 58 inches to meet higher energy-efficiency standards is based on "an outdated and inaccurate study by Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE)."

Jason Oxman, industry affairs senior VP for CEA, said in a media conference call late Wednesday afternoon that the California power company had a "strong financial interest on imposing regulations on parties others than itself." He added that the CE industry "and consumers will bear the burden of PGE" meeting "its energy milestones."

Under the most current regulations that were approved on Wednesday, C. Paul Wazzan, director of LECG, which is working with CEA on this issue, said that California lob losses would be 4,037 by Jan. 1, 2011, when the first set of regulations take place, and that annual taxes that would be lost to the state is estimated at $46.8 million.

During the call CEA said that the CEC regulations would increase the cost of individual TVs by "tens or hundreds per set" and that the elimination of competition in the California market of certain models would increase prices at retail.

The proposal has 45 days to be reviewed, first by California's Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and later by the state legislature. Oxman noted that certain legislators "didn't like the substance or the process" and are concerned about the regulations.

While a lawsuit by the association and other concerned parties, such as some of its member companies, is possible if the bulk of the regulations are enacted, CEA said it would have to review the written report and stopped short of saying if it would file a suit.

When asked if CEA agreed with what some CEC commissioners said, that these regulations may become a de facto national standard, Doug Johnston, technology policy senior director, said, "I don't think we want to take a bad [state] idea and make it a bad national idea."

He added that with programs such as Energy Star, "a national program is in place."

Aside from worries about current TVs, a major concern of CEA and the industry is new technology. As Seth Greenstein, partner of CEA's counsel Constantine Cannon, put it, "New technology is introduced ... then its performance is optimized. Today hundreds of plasma and LCD TVs comply [with energy regulations]. If these regulations were in effect [years ago], they couldn't have been introduced."

Greenstein cited 3D HDTV sets coming in 2010 and OLED as two formats that are a concern of how CEC regulations may affect their introductions.


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