Sacramento, Calif. - The California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted regulations Wednesday requiring televisions smaller than 58 inches to meet higher energy-efficiency standards.
The adopted rules will require California retailers to sell more energy-efficient TVs starting in January 2011, with even more stringent limits slated to phase in 2013.
The CEC said its actions should help the state save enough energy to power 864,000 single-family homes over 10 years. The commission also believes that the measures will save state consumers more than $8 billion over 10 years, which works out to nearly $20 a year per television in savings.
Those estimates were disputed by consumer electronics industry consultants, who said the calculations were based on flawed methodology.
The commission also said the new rules will reduce demand on the state's electric grid, which could avoid the need to construct additional power plants, and reduce air pollution.
Much of the information the CEC used in developing its energy savings assumptions came from Pacific Gas & Electric company figures.
The new regulations were also supported by utility companies Edison International and Sempra Energy.
The CEC has said that its efforts to control energy consumption in other areas, such as major appliance power limits, have helped the state keep per-capita power use flat for nearly 30 years, as it has reported growth by nearly 50 percent in other parts of the country.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has argued that the measure could limit innovation in next-generation TVs by forcing manufacturers to leave out new features and functionality because they would draw additional power.
The CEA also argued, unsuccessfully, that the measure was unnecessary since the federal Energy Star program has already established similar voluntary guidelines with which most manufacturers already comply. Many sets on the market today already meet the CEC 2013 mandated limits.