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Calif. adopts TV efficiency rule

Televisions larger than 58 inches, which account for no more than 3 percent of the market, will not be covered by the rule. Televisions larger than 58 inches, which account for no more than 3 percent of the market, will not be covered by the rule. (Fred Prouser/ Reuters/ File 2008)
Associated Press / November 19, 2009

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Power-hungry TVs will be banned from store shelves in California after state regulators yesterday adopted a first-in-the-nation mandate to reduce electricity demand.

On a unanimous vote, the California Energy Commission required all new televisions up to 58 inches to be more energy-efficient, beginning in 2011. The requirement will be tougher in 2013, with only one-quarter of all TVs currently on the market meeting that standard.

The commission estimates that TVs account for about 10 percent of a home’s electricity use. The concern is that the energy draw will rise by up to 8 percent a year as consumers buy larger televisions, add more to their homes, and watch them longer. Commissioners said energy-efficiency standards are the cheapest and easiest way to save electricity.

TVs larger than 58 inches, which account for no more than 3 percent of the market, would not be covered by the rule, a concession to independent retailers that sell high-end home-theater TVs. The commission is expected to regulate them in the future.

Environmental groups supported the tougher standards and hope they will prompt manufacturers to make new energy-efficient models for the rest of the nation.

Some manufacturers said implementing a power standard will limit consumer choice and harm California retailers.