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Government Power Television Hardware

California Moving Forward With Big-Screen TV Power Restrictions 339

Posted by Soulskill
from the from-my-cold-high-definition-hands dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Los Angeles Times reports that California regulators are poised to pass the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions just as they did with refrigerators, air conditioners and dozens of other products since the 1970s. 'We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy,' said Commissioner Julia Levin, who has been in charge of the two-year rule-making procedure. 'This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs.' California's estimated 35 million TVs and related electronic devices account for about 10% of all household electricity consumption, but manufacturers quickly are coming up with new technologies that are making even 50-inch-screen models much more economical to operate. Sets with screens of up to 58 inches would have until the start of 2011 to comply with a minimum efficiency standard, with more stringent rules being introduced two years later. If all TVs met state standards, California could avoid the $600-million cost of building a natural-gas-fired power plant, says Ken Rider, a commission staff engineer. Switching to more-efficient TVs could have an estimated net benefit to the state of $8.1 billion, the commission staff reported."
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California Moving Forward With Big-Screen TV Power Restrictions

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  • Misses The Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raisey-raison (850922) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:28AM (#29776781)

    We do need to think about our future energy needs both with respect to the environment and energy security. What we don't need is silly government micro management of our lives. So yes that means we need to subsidize nuclear, wind and solar power. The problem is that the greenies block everything. They block nuclear energy and they even block solar energy. Diane Feinstein plans on banning solar panels in the Mojave Desert even though that is one of the best places for them. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/20/MN4T19OTBJ.DTL [sfgate.com] And then the greenies don't want to allow wind power on mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire even though no-one lives on the top of a mountain. They dig their heads on the sand and pretend that with a growing population we can just conserve our way out of this crisis - which is of course way out of reality. Then they try to impose draconian restrictions on the rest of us. I can just imagine the next step - banning video games because of energy use.

  • Idiots (Score:1, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:31AM (#29776791) Homepage Journal

    Glad i don't live there. ( and hope their stupidity doesn't spread ).

    Oh, and i don't even own a big screen tv...

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:37AM (#29776807)

    They dig their heads on the sand and pretend that with a growing population we can just conserve our way out of this crisis

    And to dig your head in the sand and pretend that with a growing population we can just consume our way out of this crisis is any better?

    Then they try to impose draconian restrictions on the rest of us.

    "Oh no! They're going to outlaw low efficiency TVs when higher efficiency TVs exist!"

    The hyperbolic stance of you and your ilk is just as much a problem, perhaps even more so, as the people who oppose any sort of new energy plant. We will need to increase energy production, there's no doubt about that, but we also need to make better use of the energy we already have, there's no doubt about that, either.

    So quit being part of the problem. Just because you call out the foolishness from the other side of the debate doesn't excuse *your* foolishness.

  • by rshol (746340) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:38AM (#29776813)
    ...tell you how much electricity your TV set can use or how much water your toilet can use per flush, has the power to do anything.
  • by fredjh (1602699) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:39AM (#29776817)

    Agreed, to a large extent; what surprises me is this:

    California could avoid the $600-million cost of building a natural-gas-fired power plant, says Ken Rider, a commission staff engineer.

    With all of California's power problems, it's incredibly short sighted. Is the population not increasing? Are they not building new homes?

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:41AM (#29776823)

    how about doing something about cable / sat boxes as well? Why can't they go into a lower power mode / HD spin down when off / not recording something?

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:43AM (#29776827) Journal

    Where are the jobs going to be created? Best Buy and Walmart. Considering all TVs are now designed and produced overseas I can't see were any jobs would be created?

    Writing regulations, testing for compliance with regulations, putting amusing stickers on compliant units, smuggling noncompliant units into the country, putting forged stickers on noncompliant units, legal actions for flouting regulations, building bigger prisons for incarcerating those who flout the laws, lots of prison guards, parole officers, etc.

    All the things the US excels in!

  • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredjh (1602699) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:45AM (#29776833)

    The problem is that California is so large, manufacturers are not going to make a CA TV and a rest-of-the-world TV; neither will they stop selling there.

    So, the problem is that even if the TV ends up costing only a few dollars more, it costs a few dollars more for EVERYONE.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:47AM (#29776835) Journal

    Mandating low consumption TV sets, or low consumption lightbulbs (here in Finland it's now forbidden to produce incandescent bulbs) is as dumb as mandating low consumption cars. It makes the whole process of enforcement and monitoring more complicated, more expensive and prone to corruption.

    The logical and simpler solution is to increase the price of electricity and/or gasoline, to reflect the real cost of the commodity, through taxes. That way, there is a natural economic pressure to decrease the consumption of EVERY appliance. And if someone has the money to pay for the electricity consumed by his/her CRT TV, then let them. Their money can be used to find better sources of abovementioned commodities. I.E. invest in research of algae-produced combustibles.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:57AM (#29776885)
    You need to mandate disclosure of products' power consumption to consumers as well. If the consumer can't make informed choices, then the market fails. Products almost never indicate their peak consumption, typical consumption, standby consumption, etc.
  • by polar red (215081) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @07:59AM (#29776887)

    The logical and simpler solution is to increase the price of electricity and/or gasoline, to reflect the real cost of the commodity, through taxes

    hey Einstein, how is the consumer going to know how much that shiny new fridge is going to consume ? Without government intervention, he won't be able to tell the difference between a high and a low efficient device ...

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:10AM (#29776915)
    It's like anything else, as the energy becomes less available the price goes up and the consumption goes down. Since the gov in that state is already so heavily involved in the energy industry as in every other aspect of life, its hard to take it out overnight but a good first step would be to stop dreaming up inane regulations like this. At least increase taxes on energy so that those who use more have to pay more. What difference does it make if they use it by having an inefficient tv (illegal) or by leaving it on twice as long (legal)?
  • by jwbales (92374) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:11AM (#29776921) Homepage

    Instead of banning power hungry appliances, what if the commissars passed a regulation that citizens of California not buy anything that they cannot afford to operate. Oh, but wait. Most people do that anyway.

    OK, since no one really needs commissars to tell them how to run their lives, why don't they just go away and leave us alone. Then if California needs more power generation capacity, someone will provide it, unless some meddlesome commissar gets in the way.

  • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Björn (4836) * on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:11AM (#29776927)
    If so, then it will also save emery for everyone, resulting in cheaper energy bills, as well as reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and associated costs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:18AM (#29776941)

    I wonder if California is bankrupt because of these "regulators".

  • by arpad1 (458649) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:18AM (#29776945)
    "We will need"? Do you have a mouse in your pocket or did I miss the coronation?

    The only thing we need is fewer narrow-nosed, moralizing ideologues who can think of no other explanations for a diversity of opinion then stupidity or insanity and no other solution to the problem of a diversity of opinion but authoritarianism.

    Oh, and since you seem to be a bit upset with hyperbole perhaps you could direct your ire at this:

    If all TVs met state standards, California could avoid the $600-million cost of building a natural-gas-fired power plant, says Ken Rider, a commission staff engineer.

    Ooops. That's not just hyperbolic it's hyperbolic and monumentally arrogant. I guess the two together are OK. Carry on.

  • by A Friendly Troll (1017492) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:19AM (#29776949)

    And if someone has the money to pay for the electricity consumed by his/her CRT TV, then let them.

    I have a 28" Philips CRT TV. I can't find its papers and I cannot be bothered to look on its back for possible power consumption, but according to this page [sust-it.net], it shouldn't be using more than 110-120W. There weren't many larger CRTs made due to their sheer weight.

    Now play around on that site and check out the power consumption of a 37" LCD [sust-it.net], which has roughly the same height as my CRT, but is wide-screen. Whoops, the most efficient one is 123W.

    The numbers they have on that site probably aren't completely accurate, but CRTs really weren't the power hogs people make them to be. Today's LCD and plasma screens - especially since they come in larger sizes - use a LOT more power than the biggest CRTs in the old days.

  • by Bazman (4849) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:34AM (#29777043) Journal

    Is it true that in some parts of California it's illegal to dry your laundry outside? That in parts of a state that is predominantly hot and dry the only legal way of getting your clothes dry is to heat them and rotate them in a sealed metal drum?

    Compare with TV usage here:

    http://www.carbonfootprint.com/energyconsumption.html [carbonfootprint.com]

    It's a bit less than a big TV, but if you've got free air drying outside your door, you can use it for zero-carbon, zero-cost drying. Except of course all that laundry flapping around is going to bring down the price of houses in the neighborhood, because prospective buyers will think you're all too poor to afford dryers. Conspicuous consumption at its most brillant.

    [Or at least that's the reason I understand for outside laundry lines]

  • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:38AM (#29777073) Homepage
    They can also tell me that I'm not allowed to walk up behind you, put a gun against the back of your head and pull the trigger.

    The travesty, the injustice, we demand freedom for the people!
  • Re:Idiots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcorno (889560) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:51AM (#29777183)

    Glad i don't live there. ( and hope their stupidity doesn't spread ).

    The economics of this situation is more complicated than "costs more money = bad." People don't take energy efficiency into account when they make a big purchase like this. That means it's in the best interest of the manufacturer to save 5 bucks on manufacturing costs, even it means an extra $100 in electricity bills for the consumer. Legislation is the only really effective way to balance out the costs in a case like this, unless you can figure out how to make people pay for the electricity up front.

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:53AM (#29777959) Journal

    "Oh no! They're going to outlaw low efficiency TVs when higher efficiency TVs exist!"

    I don't really give a damn about TV because I rarely watch it. What does bother me is the fact that the Government is going to mandate that I switch to crappy ass light bulbs that take half a minute to come up to full brightness and will contaminate my house with mercury if dropped.

    The CFL mandate is one of the stupidest fucking things ever to come out of Washington. I'm already using them at every location in my house where it makes sense to use them -- i.e: lights that get turned on left on for hours on end. Now they are going to force me to use them in closets (where I need full brightness at once and rarely leave the light on for more than a minute or two) and all other locations? WTF?

    As an added bonus, there isn't a single CFL made in the United States. There are still incandescent bulbs produced here. Thank you Uncle Sam, for removing my choice to support American jobs and ensuring that even more of our money leaves the country and goes to China.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:56AM (#29777975)

    I've been kicking around this theory. I think I'll unveil it on SlashDot first, then maybe go for wider publication and peer validation. It could revolutionize _everything_.

    OK, stick with me. What if... man I'm sweating about this, it's so monumental. OK, hold it together RightSaidFred99, hold it together.

    Ready. OK. What if we charge more for goods and services, including power delivery, when we have an interest in seeing those goods and services used less. I think this came to me in a fevered peyote dream or something, but I am willing to bet (just a small amount of money - it's only a theory) that if California raised the price of power just a little bit that usage would go down. They could find the "sweet spot" (new term I coined) between price and availability of the resource and find some sort of balance.

    Now the really crazy thing about this radical, revolutionary, mind-blowing idea of raising the price to quell demand is that it affects not only large TVs but _everything_! It might make people turn off their lights and lower their utilization of other power-using appliances!

  • Long Term Future (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trout007 (975317) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:58AM (#29777981)
    Here is the problem I have with energy efficiency. We need to work on production not consumption. Human progress is marked by our ability to produce and control larger amounts of energy. The big moments, fire, steam, steel(blast furnaces), oil, hydro, nuclear, rockets. I cannot imagine a future where people are better off producing less energy. We need more. Nuclear is the next obvious step. It has only been regulations that have been in the way. I am a capitalist but as such property rights are important. You can't let a power plant pollute because that harms my property. All manufacturing cannot be allowed to cause a measurable increase in pollutants on neighboring property. That means coal plants would be allowed but they can't put out measurable quantities of pollutants. Also if we stop our world empire we would stop subsidizing the costs of oil. Oil companies and shippers would have to pay for their own security and that would be rolled into the cost of oil. Nuclear is the most power dense solution especially if regulations for reprocessing are removed. We can truly move into the next stage of humanity if this technology is allowed to progress.
  • by pjt33 (739471) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:58AM (#29777987)

    In Sydney, Australia it is illegal in most apartment blocks also because of the danger of something falling

    What do you make your clothes from? I would expect the risk of injury due to falling clothes-pegs to be only very slightly greater than that due to falling dropbears. (I regularly have clothes-pegs from the five floors above me land in my verandah, but I'm not concerned about my safety. And since no-one ever comes to claim them I never need to buy clothes-pegs.)

  • by lordlod (458156) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:05AM (#29778043)

    You are assuming perfect knowledge and rational behaviour. Which is a nice theoretical approximation but the rest of us live in the real world.

    The problem is that the power usage is not a factor most people consider compared to screen size, trim colour and brightness level. Even if you do care about the power usage there have been deceptive practices such as ultralow idle levels which aren't used 90% of the time.

    A compulsory minimum will get rid of the dodgy TVs and people won't have to worry about it. As a nice added bonus the standards will mean most manufacturers will comply and the rest of the world will also benefit (see the way RoHS has been adopted world wide).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @11:42AM (#29778259)

    This isn't hard to understand.

    When you shoot someone in the head, you harm another person. You remove another person's freedom.

    A person who flushes a toilet isn't harming anyone. Even if you use a "they're depriving valuable resources" argument, which water is particularly in California who robs midwestern states of their water, how come when you use graywater or rainwater, the codes/regs STILL mandate gallon minimums?

    The toilet regs, btw, don't work. Depending on the toilet, people just change the chain length, the little ball or spout at the end of the toiler flapper, hold the flush handle down, or simply flush multiple times instead. Before, crap, flush. Now, crap a bit, flush to make sure it goes down, crap more. Lovely. Before 5 gallon flush, now 2 gallon x 3--water saved!...urm, hold on.

    Plumbers love the toilet regs, since most homes have old sewer pipes, so plumbers know when they or the homeowner change an old toilet with a new, efficient one, they'll likely get an appointment within 1-2 months for a main sewer line clean.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @12:53PM (#29778727)

    You want to create TV electricity police for a near zero potential long-term benefit?

    Some might suggest that you just like policing every aspect on everyone's life in the tiniest detail. Or maybe you just want votes from the TV police union. Either of those are problems. The small acts of oppression pile up into a big totalitarian heap.

    And that assumes your ultra-rosy scenario is true. What's the track record for government involvement actually lowering the cost of things?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:05PM (#29781199)

    I don't know about you, but I've yet to see a manual with practical energy consumption numbers. If companies had their way, they'd be testing refrigerator power consumption at Fairbanks, Alaska "room-temperature" and it sure wouldn't say that in the manual.

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