CEA Slams California TV Energy-Use Mandates

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The Consumer Electronics Association said it was "extremely disappointed" by the California Energy Commission's decision to set new energy efficiency standards for TV sets sold in the state.

The five-member California Energy Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to require new TV sets with screen sizes 58 inches and smaller to reduce electricity consumption 33% by 2011 and 49% by 2013.

The new efficiency standards will save consumers statewide more than $8 billion over 10 years, CEC commissioner Julia Levin said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

"We would not move forward with this rule if we believed it was not cost effective," Levin said. "It will spark new innovation, new industries and new jobs in California."

But the CEA said the rules will endanger jobs, innovation and consumer choice.

"Simply put, this is bad policy -- dangerous for the California economy, dangerous for technology innovation and dangerous for consumer freedom," CEA's senior vice president of industry affairs Jason Oxman said in a statement. "Instead of allowing customers to choose the products they want, the commission has decided to impose arbitrary standards that will hamper innovation and limit consumer choice. It will result in higher prices for consumers, job losses for Californians, and lost tax revenue for the state."

According to the CEA, the California Energy Commission has "repeatedly rebuffed" attempts from the consumer-electronics industry to provide input on the regulations.

CEA claimed that "energy efficiency is a shared concern for all parties" but that said that "rather than build on these efforts, the CEC chose to create a new regulatory regime and micromanage the design and development of future televisions."

The California regulations could set a precedent for other states. Massachusetts is exploring television-efficiency legislation that is largely based on California's new standards, while Washington and Oregon are expected to take up the issue, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

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