New York — The California state legislature is considering a proposal that may reduce by 25 percent all TVs that are sold in the state due to concerns about electricity consumption of those models.
Douglas Johnson, technology policy and international affairs senior director for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), told TWICE at the Greener Gadgets Conference, held here last Friday, "Even a 10 percent reduction of [TVs] available in California, tax revenues would go down $44 million a year and 5,000 jobs in the state would be lost" at national and regional retailers in the state, as well as manufacturers, distributors and custom installers.
The proposal, which is being backed by Pacific Gas & Electric, is a major concern to CEA because it feels it is unnecessary. Johnson said that through the Energy Star program, which has been in place for the past 15 years, there was a new specification put in place this past Nov. 1 that concerns active and standby power consumption.
Johnson explained that more than 450 TV models meet that new, improved requirement under the voluntary
Energy Star rules. "Energy Star is a flexible and user-friendly program. When 25 percent of a product category meets the specifications" over time, after a greater percentage of product quality is met, the specification is set higher.
To meet these energy requirements quickly is seen by suppliers to be a competitive advantage, he said.
And Johnson noted that California "is in the vanguard on energy efficiency and use" and that the goal of the industry and CEA is "to make our products as energy efficient as possible."
He added that California has had regulations on the books concerning major appliances in this area, but they are not applicable to consumer electronics because technology changes rapidly and "regulations can’t keep up. Energy Star, as a voluntary program, can keep up [with technology] without hindering technological development."
In comparing CEA’s position on recycling and energy use, Johnson said that while CEA is all for a national standard on recycling, the industry feels that Energy Star is the right approach on energy usage.
Johnson cited the success of the Energy Star program in a 2007 Environmental Protection Agency report (the most recent available) which showed that CE products saved 60 percent of all power saved by the Energy Star program, which equates to 23 billion kilowatts of power.
CEA is urging performance standards for "brightness and contrast requirements for TVs" because if sets aren’t calibrated correctly, they can use more energy than needed. Johnson added that a consumer education campaign on the subject could make the public aware of it.