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CEA, NAB Fight Energy Law

Arlington, Va. — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have joined forces to fight a California Energy Commission’s (CEC) mandate regulating power consumption levels on forthcoming digital television adapters to be sold in its state.

Digital television adapters will be required for owners of analog television sets to continue viewing free over-the-air broadcast stations after the nation completes its transition to digital broadcasting in February 2009.

The commission is expected to respond this week to public comments requesting to rescind the regulation.

“This regulation would likely raise the cost and limit the availability of these products, potentially leaving millions of Californians on the wrong side of the digital divide,” reads a joint statement issued by the associations to the CEC. “By mandating energy consumption specifications for these products before government and industry have the opportunity to define what types of converter boxes will be eligible for the subsidy; the CEC’s regulation jeopardizes the ability of Californians to participate in this program in a meaningful way. The regulations could force the boxes eligible for sale in California to come at a premium price, reducing the value of the subsidy.”

The associations said that the CEC regulations were based on false information, pointing out that the Commission’s study indicated that “46,000 digital television converters are in use throughout California, despite the fact that set-top DTV converters are not available on the market in the United States.”

“Saving energy is important, but the CEC’s regulation misses the point,” the joint statement says. “The digital television transition itself will save energy as broadcasters stop running both analog and digital transmitters. In fact, with every month that the transition to digital television is delayed, California could relinquish more than $1.6 million or almost $20 million per year in energy savings.”