Gov. Schwarzenegger Supports Ban on Power-Sapping TVs

SACRAMENTO—In a move that could plunge California-based HD porn fans into a deeper depression than even the economy has caused, the larger-than-life governor of the most populous state in the nation has given his blessing to a possible statewide ban on energy-sapping liquid-crystal display (LCD) and plasma high-definition TVs more than 40 inches wide.

Despite last-minute efforts by the lobbying group Consumer Electronics Assn. to persuade the California Energy Commission to allow the marketplace to decide which wide-screen televisions will prevail, their argument that government intrusion could also harm sales failed to convince commissioners at a “public hearing on the proposed rules that would set maximum energy-consumption standards for televisions to be phased in over two years beginning in January 2011,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

While the manufacturing lobby contends that voluntary efforts at energy reduction are proceeding without regulations, Energy Commissioner Julia Levin, who is behind the push for new regulations, said it is not happening fast enough and rejected the notion that a ban will hurt the state.

“We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy,” she said. Energy experts speculate that a reduction in the number of energy-sapping TVs could reduce the state’s energy bill by about $8 billion over the next decade.

California has an estimated 35 million TVs and related electronic devices that account for about 10 percent of all household electricity consumption, the Energy Commission staff reported. But the Times reports that “manufacturers quickly are coming up with new technologies that are making even 50-inch-screen models much more economical to operate. New features, such as light-emitting diodes that consume tiny amounts of power, special reflective films and sensors that automatically adjust TV brightness to a room's viewing conditions, are driving down electricity consumption.”

The lobbying group says that it is precisely those advances in technology that support their argument that “manufacturers can meet the targets over time, managing the cost impact, yet not in any way [impede] innovation."

The Commission will vote Nov. 4 whether to establish the mandate requiring sets with screens of up to 58 inches to comply with the new minimum efficiency standard, with more stringent rules being introduced within the next two years.