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Government Power Television Hardware Technology

California Publishes Television Efficiency Standards For 2011 265

eldavojohn writes "It's been nine months since California announced their intentions to create new standards on energy-consuming televisions in their state, but yesterday the California Energy Commission finally released the first draft of the regulations. (More information straight from the horse's mouth.) If you live in another state, you may be unfamiliar with California's history of mandating power usage among anything from dishwashers to washing machines to other household appliances. This has also led to California pushing to ban incandescent light bulbs. From their FAQ on TV Efficiency Standards: 'The proposed standards have no effect on existing televisions. If approved, they would only apply to TVs sold in California after January 1, 2011. The first standard (Tier 1) would take effect January 1, 2011, and reduce energy consumption by average of 33 percent. The second measure (Tier 2) would take effect in 2013 and, in conjunction with Tier 1, reduce energy consumption by an average of 49 percent.' The Draft from December 2008 is available on their site (PDF, with a shorter 'Just the Facts' flier for those of you without two hours to burn). There's no indication whether that's what they're going with, or if it's been updated since then."
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California Publishes Television Efficiency Standards For 2011

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  • Regulations! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:31PM (#29477695)
    Leading us to a bright new future! or at least that's what the politicians want you to think.
  • Why regulate? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by selven ( 1556643 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:33PM (#29477713)
    Why not just make people pay the full price of the electricity they're using so they can leave lights, heating and AC on 24/7 but it's only they who are suffering.
  • other states (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:34PM (#29477715)
    There be other places to buy yer electronics matey. This law will create markets blacker than the old man's beard and five times the size! By me whiskers this is the worst idea since they made grandma's medicine illegal!
  • About time... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Manip ( 656104 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:35PM (#29477729)

    I think we all deserve better TVs frankly and I think it is fair to say that the TV industry as a whole has failed to step up. We still have brand new TVs which draw almost as much power "off" as they do turned on with the sound blazing... Hopefully California will encourage more TVs to be produced with these kind of energy saving features by default around the world.

    Yes, I too hate the "nanny state" and government intervention but when an industry or consumers fail to act in a responsible fashion at points a government has to step in... I mean lead paint in kid's toys, god knows what in our food, labelling on products to give the consumer more information, sometimes the nanny policies are good for society.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:47PM (#29477803)

    ...for example, motor vehicle emissions laws which allow an officer to stop your vehicle on suspicion that you have non-CARB-certified equipment on your car or if your car is "modified for racing." Apparently CA whalehuggers aren't aware of those of us who like to drive our cars the racetrack or dragstrip. Or that many car enthusiasts have the best-running (and thus cleanest running) cars on the road, asshats who gut their catalytic converters excepted.

    If stopped, you're told to open your hood and allow the inspection. If you refuse, you're immediately arrested, your car is impounded and towed to the nearest CARB inspection facility. You better hope and pray that everything in your engine compartment is original or has a CARB stamp on it or your car (yes, the entire car) will be confiscated and you'll be facing thousands in fines. The CARB stamp is just a massive tax / attempt to discourage aftermarket parts, because it is irrelevant whether the modified car passes emissions standards, and CA charges a fortune to certify parts.

    Unreasonable search and seizure anyone? Oh, look, a baby seal. Welcome to the People's Republic of Kalifornia, the most legislated state in the nation, and sadly, that fucks over the rest of us, since product manufacturers don't want to be unable to sell in that market.

    Remember the clusterfuck that is MTBE, aka the chemical which reduces smog but pollutes the hell out of groundwater and is a known carcinogen? Guess who we have to thank for that?

  • Re:About time... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tjstork ( 137384 ) <> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:48PM (#29477807) Homepage Journal

    consumers fail to act in a responsible fashion at points a government has to step in

    If you argue that consumers should be dictated to by the government, aren't you really arguing in favor of a sort of totalitarianism. Who gave you or any other Fed the right to say what is responsible and what is not. That is not among the enumerated powers we have granted to the Congress in our Constitution.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spectrokid ( 660550 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:49PM (#29477819) Homepage
    Why is it that anything you don't like "will cost jobs"? We gonna need a ???? / Profit!!! thing for this.
    1. Joe Sixpack doesn't look at consumption when he buys a TV.
    2. So you impose some standards by law.
    4. Jobs are lost!!!
  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:52PM (#29477835) Homepage Journal

    Because being rational doesn't get you reelected. It's better to spread around progressive ideas so you look like you have accomplished something.

    We pay a bunch for the electricity too. We also pay a tax when we buy a display to cover the disposal of that display (around $16 last time I bought something). Of course what I wonder is why we didn't just mandate garbage companies to deal with electronic waste, thus raising the cost of disposal in a way that can adjust to free market demands. We would benefit from additional efficiencies, and adapt to changes without having to write new legislation.

  • Re:About time... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperQ ( 431 ) * on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:04PM (#29477911) Homepage

    So I take it you're in favor of leaded gasoline and are opposed to catalytic converters.

  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:06PM (#29477921)

    Because all the morons polluting up the planet by leaving their AC on 24/7 make the rest of us suffer. Seriously, if it were only a matter of economics, there would be no alternative energy movement.

  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by selven ( 1556643 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:18PM (#29477989)
    You could always make the other taxes more progressive to compensate. You could also use the money this would raise to give people the initial investment needed to upgrade to lower power-expenditure technology, proper insulation, etc.
  • by pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:36PM (#29478071)

    Apparently CA whalehuggers aren't aware of those of us who like to drive our cars the racetrack or dragstrip. Or that many car enthusiasts have the best-running (and thus cleanest running) cars on the road

    Last I checked, you could have the best running car on the road and still get 5 mpg.

    I'm sorry that you dislike the penchant for people in California becoming annoyed at your self-righteous pollution of the atmosphere. We all happen to breathe your self-righteous fumes and are unable to jog in L.A. without becoming ill due to fumes such as yours.

    If you don't support a strict effort to control such fumes and just don't realize how serious a problem they are, then I suggest you move to one of the many areas in the United States that never takes such things into consideration and you can fumigate yourself all you like.

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:41PM (#29478101)

    While the California government overlords spend their people's time and money worrying about a few watts of electricity, the unemployment rate in California hit 12.2% and continues to rise []. The San Joaquin valley continues to suffer under a drought, but the water that would normally be used to irrigate the crops is being used to protect an endangered minnow []. This has resulted in nearly 40% unemployment in some agricultural communities and will lead to higher food prices for produce across the US -- yet another burden heaped on poor and middle class families.

    But they have lots of time to force you to buy more expensive TVs in order to save a couple of watts of electricity.

    Maybe Californians (who are not part of the elite, effete ruling class) should consider getting out while they still have something left to bring with them.

  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:47PM (#29478145)

    There are more issues at stake than cost per unit of electricity. I have this idea that we're all supposed to be reducing our carbon footprint. It makes perfect sense to make personally-painless reductions in needless waste before we start infringing upon our ways of life.

    Why would someone want to buy a device which isn't as energy-efficient as possible? Waste isn't cool ppl.

  • by schwaang ( 667808 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:05PM (#29478257)

    The "full price" you're describing doesn't include the cost of damage to human health and the environment from mercury and other heavy metals, acid rain, greenhouse gases, mountaintop removal, smog, etc.

    Some *small* part of that cost is included now via regulation, requiring cleaner smokestack technology e.g., which the utilities pass on to customers. But much of it is *not* regulated or otherwise included in the price the end-user pays.

    In the meantime, conservation has paid proven dividends in California []:

    Efficiency and decoupling have helped California to consume electricity far more thriftily than the rest of America. At the time of the 1973 oil shock, California used about 17 percent less electricity per person than the country at large. Since then, as Rosenfeld likes to point out in a chart that has been dubbed âoethe Rosenfeld Curve,â per capita electricity use in the nation has increased by about 50 percent to about 12,000 kilowatt-hours annually. Meanwhile, over that same period, per capita electricity use in California has remained absolutely flat at about 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year. That means the average Californian today uses about 40 percent less electricity per year than the average American.

    James Sweeney, who runs Stanford Universityâ(TM)s Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, has calculated with Anant Sudarshan, a colleague, that much of that difference can be explained by factors such as Californiaâ(TM)s temperate climate, less heavy industry, and even smaller-sized households. But, Sweeney says, the stateâ(TM)s policy decisions still account for a substantial amountâ"roughly one-fifth to one-fourthâ"of the gap in electricity usage between California and the nation. The focus on efficiency has produced huge savings: though per kilowatt electricity rates are higher in California than in most other places, consumers pay lower electricity bills because they use so much less power than people elsewhere. A few years ago, the California Energy Commission calculated that the stateâ(TM)s efficiency efforts had preempted the need for 24 large-scale power plants and saved state consumers $56 billion.

    Rosenfeld says the past generationâ(TM)s gains indicate the state can improve its energy intensity (the amount of energy required to produce each dollar of GDP) by about 30 percent every decade. âoeEfficiency,â he says with a twinkle, âoeseems to be a renewable resource.â

    And there is the initial lesson from Californiaâ(TM)s energy experience: efficiency is the foundation of any effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. As California has learned, the most cost-effective way to replace coal or natural gas or petroleum isnâ(TM)t to rely on solar or wind or biofuels; itâ(TM)s to squeeze more work out of less energy.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:08PM (#29478291)

    Two things...

    As for the Consumer Electronics Association speaking out against a mandatory increase in energy efficiency in televisions, who saw that coming? An industry lobby is hardly where I would go for reliable advice on cutting down on energy consumption.

    First, who knows more about manufacturing TVs than the TV industry?

    Second, if the citizens of California are really concerned about the energy efficiency of their TVs, why do they keep buying the current inefficient ones? I can almost buy the argument that people "need" cars, but surely nobody "needs" a TV? If they really gave a damn, they wouldn't buy one.

    This is government babysitting at it's best. A bunch of know nothing bureaucrats passing stupid, unwanted laws to make themselves look necessary. Just what you'd expect from California.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:20PM (#29478385)

    who knows more about manufacturing TVs than the TV industry?

    And who knows more about automobiles than the automobile industry? But, wait, the automobile industry protests practically every single time California wants to introduce stricter emissions controls. Nevertheless, California presses forward over their objections.

    The result is that we have cleaner air and automobiles with higher gas mileage. The result of this TV law is that we will have TVs that don't consume as much energy. Just how is this a bad thing? Seriously...

  • MPG != pollution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:50PM (#29478611)

    Last I checked, you could have the best running car on the road and still get 5 mpg.

    Last I checked, miles per gallon has nothing to do with pollution (and CARB stickers on aftermarket engine components don't get better mileage.) Witness cities in the 2nd and 3rd world where mopeds and motorcycles (which are not required to be inspected by CA) fill the air with choking smoke. You could be getting 40MPG and spewing NOx everywhere.

    If emissions are so important, why does CA except from emissions testing COMPLETELY: Vehicles made in 1975 or prior, Diesel-powered vehicles (which includes the ENTIRE TRUCKING INDUSTRY), Natural gas powered vehicles weighing more than 14,000 pounds, Hybrids, Motorcycles, trains, planes? Why aren't airplane emissions regulated? Did you know that a jumbo-jet taking off puts more pollution into the air in one takeoff than many cars will in their entire service life? Airports aren't transportation hubs: they're giant kerosene burners.

    I ride my bicycle every day in the city and emotards on their 1970's mopeds are spewing 1000 times more pollution than a car to look trendy and save money on gas, undoing all the work the rest of us are doing to cut our personal emissions. When I ride the subway, I see the commuter line roar by, its diesel engine belching a 3-foot-wide plume of blue diesel smoke..

    I drive a car that is actually negative-emissions because its radiator is coated with catalyst. And, it's a heavily modified for performance. It's not CARB legal, despite being negative-emissions, because the company that made my exhaust (which has a catalytic converter) didn't bother to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a CARB stamp. I take public transit to work, use the train to travel when possible instead of fly, and I bicycle 120 miles a week. So don't you fucking lecture me about emissions or saving the environment or the air we share.

    And, incidentally, I don't live in CA. I live in a state which proxies their emissions laws off CA, which means I don't have any legislative representation in the matters which affect me as a citizen of a different state.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:07PM (#29478733)

    Higher cost. Seriously...

    I suppose it depends on what types of "cost" you evaluate. I like clean beaches, clean air, clean water, less disease and a longer lifespan.

    All of these things have value for me. Therefore, the savings I accrue in terms of the things I value in laws that benefit the environment far outweigh any potential gains in paying five dollars less for a television set.

    Furthermore, devices that use less energy provide savings in your electric bill. If you can't evaluate the savings in your future health costs by breathing cleaner air, then at least evaluate the savings in your immediate energy costs by using less electricity.

  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <plugwash.p10link@net> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:27PM (#29478865) Homepage

    France accomplished this by building a large number of nuclear power plants. I'm not going to go into the whole debate over nuclear waste and everything, because that's getting way off topic. It can also be provided by a clean and cheap source like hydroelectric.
    Hydro can be broadly split into two categories based on whether or not it uses a dam.

    Conventional dam based hydro is a dream for grid operators (since they can take the energy more or less whenever they want it and at very short notice). Unfortunately the dams are very expensive to build initially, tend to silt up to some extent and there are a limited number of sites which are both technically suitable and can be acquired in a reasonable manner. The result is that dam based hydro makes up a declining proportion of electricity supply in the west (in china they just do it and screw the people living on the land they are going to flood)

    Hydro without dams can be installed with less disruption to the local environment (so it's easier to find sites) but suffers from the same problem as solar and wind, namely that it's output profile is tied directly to the flow profile of the river (which is in turn tied indirectly to the weather). Financially this makes the electricity it generates less valuable. Practically this means that solar/wind/dam free hydro can't replace conventional generation without extremely expensive storage mechanisms.

  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:40PM (#29478953)

    Waste isn't cool ppl.

    You have obviously never done a sub 13 second quarter mile. Gone over 80 in a boat.

    The fact is that _waste is cool_.

    Very, very cool.

    Kind of expensive though.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VirginMary ( 123020 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:42PM (#29478975)

    It will just be made up by people needing to turn their heating higher to compensate.

    I think you're confused! In much of California it will result in additional lower energy consumption due to reduced usage of air conditioners. Also, even if you should live in parts of California where for some part of the year you have significant heating requirements you will still end up with a net gain in energy efficiency because this is not true all year round. Also heating should not be a huge expenditure if you properly insulate your home which will also help with hot summers. In Sweden and Germany, for example, there are strongly enforced rules for how much heat loss per square meter of a buildings outer surface is permissible. This has led to buildings that are nice and cool even in 90F summer weather as long as you close the blinds during the daytime and open the windows at night. And yes, we do have 90F summer days during most summers in Germany. I now live in Southern California and I don't even turn on any lights, if I don't have to, in summer, because every little bit helps in keeping the air conditioner usage to a minimum. I also bought a Philips eco tv to not heat up my place more than necessary when I watch something on my large-screen tv. Unfortunately there are many people that are either too ignorant or lazy to estimate life-time costs of running an appliance and/or they're total idiots and believe conservative talk show hosts rather than the overwhelming majority of climate scientists concerning global warming.

  • Re:About time... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:45PM (#29479003)

    Yeah, California is the land where individual rights and freedoms are forgotten.

    You really have only a few choices left under such a regime:
    - Escape while you still can,
    - Live there as a criminal,
    - Get a government position and be above the law,
    - Or just learn to do what you're told.

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:57PM (#29479091) Homepage

    It's not at all surprising. People react to pollution that they can see, smell, and touch. In less populated areas where smog just blows away, few are going to care what their emissions are doing. California has wonders like the LA basin. Smog stays trapped near the source. When people have to breath the smog they produce, they tend to care a little more.

  • Re:About time... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:03PM (#29479139)

    "Maybe he's arguing that industry should be dictated to by consumers, through the government the consumers elect? That's what government is supposed to be -- the collective will of the people voting for it."

    What the consumers purchase is a direct expression of their will. What a government composed mostly of appointed officials whose agendas are not directly set by the people is something different.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:41PM (#29479349)

    Seems that detroit puts more effort into large vehicle fuel economy.
    A large Chevy Tahoe is rated 15/21mpg and the smaller Honda Pilot16/22mpg.

    On the other hand, there is performance and driving comfort to consider. Edmunds claims a Yaris S does 0-60mph in 10.7 seconds. For me, the performance cut-off is around 9 seconds. Any slower than that feels danderously slow to me. I test drove a first-gen Toyota Prius and it was downright scary in city traffic. My car does 0-60 in under 7 seconds. I also rented a Toyota Corolla for a week which got nearly 40% better fuel economy compared to my car. But the NVH, hard seat, and lack of power made me glad to get rid of it.

    Fuel economy is not the end-all requirement; everything is a compromise. Sure, I'd love to drastically cut down on my fuel costs, but the MPG improvement with a Yaris, Fit, Scion, or whatever doesn't overcome the loss of comfort and performance.

    There doesn't seem to be any substitute for wheel base when it comes to a comfortable and stable ride.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:37PM (#29479693)

    Yes, demand for electricity is shrinking. And our electric grid is so underused that we're planning to shut parts of it down.

    Get a grip. I live in California. We don't have enough power plants to meet demand, so electrical generation costs are ridiculous. Our electrical grid hums and arcs for several hours a day. The fact is that we're using a lot more electricity than we can economically provide with our current infrastructure, and the other fact is that improved efficiency will give us additional electrical capacity more quickly and more cheaply than infrastructure improvements alone.

  • by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @07:43PM (#29479725) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, next time they (voluntarily) buy a new tv they will have to buy something that will be more energy efficient. Oh fucking dear. And how much more expensive will it be ? No more expensive than the last one. Meanwhile California continues to exist on borrowed time because they have exhausted the Colorado river and will die of thirst within 20 years. Why don't you buy an island somewhere and expire quietly ?
  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) * on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:17PM (#29479891) Journal

    Because a lot of the cost of energy use is negative externalites. Who pays to clean up the pollution caused by energy production? Further increased demand for energy increases the price for energy which affects everyone too.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Estragib ( 945821 ) <> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @08:25PM (#29479925)

    The idea of this measure is to save energy. To complain that this will cost jobs in the energy industry, or in companies that produce energy-intensive devices, is like complaining that anti-smoking education will cost jobs in the tobacco industry, that fighting terror will cost jobs in the explosives industry, or that curing cancer will cost the job of many a undertaker.

    Dear concerned people, we appreciate you're concerned about lost jobs, but this is exactly what we're trying to achieve here.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @10:01PM (#29480395)

    One the one hand you accuse Joe Sixpack of being too ignorant to estimate the life-time costs of running an appliance while at the same time neglecting to mention that government interference in the electricity market (especially in California), by fixing the price too low for example, encourages wasteful use while at the same time discouraging greater efficiency by minimizing the gains that can be realized from purchasing more efficient appliances. Yes, California tried deregulation before and got burned (because they did it stupidly), but just because California couldn't get it right the first time doesn't mean that some deregulation of rates wouldn't be a good thing (punishing wasteful users and rewarding those who invest in efficiency).

    However, why should I go out and buy a new television for several hundred dollars (at least) when, as other posters have pointed out, it will only save me ~$18 per year in electricity costs? The Present Value [] of the accumulated savings does not, in many cases, fully justify the purchase of a new TV when a perfectly serviceable, albeit less energy efficient, and fully depreciated (i.e. fully owned) existing model is available and working. Now, some people decide to buy energy efficient appliances anyway because they enjoy doing more for the environment and can afford to do so, but if you want to appeal to consumers' financial sensibilities then you have to make dollars and cents when talking about relative savings from greater efficiencies. Otherwise, Joe Sixpack concludes (rightly) that some highfalutin scientist or politician is peeing on their leg and telling them that its raining.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @10:19PM (#29480447) Journal

    I have a 40" television that consumes a rather obscene 220W. at my rates, after 5 years, the 10% extra cost would have to have made the thing consume zero energy over that time. There's no way that an LCD tv produced at the time mine was will last 15 years anyway, with with LED/LCD tvs coming out all without any californian intervention, so it's kind of moot.

  • by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @10:55PM (#29480619) Homepage
    The point is that the government wastes time and money on this sort of regulation when they could be using both to actually do something useful. Given CA's known bureaucracy, this is easily going to cost 10-20 million... for what, exactly? Is this even worth concern when the majority of new TVs are now LCD, which have minuscule power requirements compared to just about everything else in your house? No, it's not. It's wasteful. It's purposeless. It's feel-good regulation that does nothing for anyone's good. It's the sort of thing that is slowly running the state into the ground.

    I don't live there anymore, luckily, but I still know this from experience.
  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drizek ( 1481461 ) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:36PM (#29480779)

    Because that would require adding a carbon tax, a particulate emissions tax, an electronic waste disposal tax, a transportation tax, and a whole bunch of other stuff that people will yell at the government for.

    The only reason why anyone would go this route is if they have an irrational attachment to the free market. Banning things which have high hidden costs is a lot easier and a lot more effective than trying to put a monetary value on the hidden costs and hoping the free market fixes the problem. The end result is the same, the elimination of plasma TVs. One method is an ordered and effective ban, and the other is a laundry list of arbitrary taxes being attached to consumer goods, and then hoping people aren't stupid enough to pay $10,000 for a plasma TV.

  • Re:Counterpoints (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VirginMary ( 123020 ) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @02:13AM (#29481327)

    One the one hand you accuse Joe Sixpack of being too ignorant to estimate the life-time costs of running an appliance while at the same time neglecting to mention that government interference in the electricity market (especially in California), by fixing the price too low for example, encourages wasteful use while at the same time discouraging greater efficiency by minimizing the gains that can be realized from purchasing more efficient appliances.

    I would be the first person to support higher electricity rates in California and probably almost everywhere else. In Germany rates are much higher and people use energy much more efficiently. The same is true with petrol prices. People in the US are unbelievably spoiled in those areas. If the rates were higher the free market would lead to an optimisation process that would likely help people compensate for much of the difference.

    However, why should I go out and buy a new television for several hundred dollars (at least) when, as other posters have pointed out, it will only save me ~$18 per year in electricity costs?

    Nobody, including myself, wants to force you to go out and buy a new tv. But, it would be good that when you decide to buy a new one there will only be very energy efficient models available.

    Now, some people decide to buy energy efficient appliances anyway because they enjoy doing more for the environment and can afford to do so,

    I wouldn't say that I enjoy doing more for the environment. Instead, I consider it to be my responsibility! I don't want to leave this place in worse shape when I die than the shape it was in when I was born. I also believe that most people in first world countries like the US can afford to make significantly more sacrifices for future generations than what they are doing now. I may be an extreme case, but, I decided to have no kids when I turned 19 and realised that global overpopulation was the biggest problem mankind is facing. I also decided not to drive because I believe that the costs to society do outweigh personal benefits. Before some idiot claims that this is not a possible choice for most people, I would like to point out that I have worked and lived the last 23 years in the US and that I am now 50 years old. I am also used to, and quite happy with my life style. I feel that I cannot expect others to do something that I do not practice myself. I just find that people are typically too lazy or unimaginative and conveniently decide that something they do not want to do is "impossible." I have also calculated that, due to the money I save by not having a car, I can retire a whole 2 years earlier than someone with the same financial expectations during retirement and the same income.

  • Re:Why regulate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @04:55AM (#29481775) Journal

    And when you reach the impassé of people who do not evaluate everything in terms of financial cost? People who no amount of money will compensate them for their child suffering brain damage from mercury in sea food or don't consider it possible to set a price on the extinction of a species or the destruction of the woodland or jungle they care about?

"Only a brain-damaged operating system would support task switching and not make the simple next step of supporting multitasking." -- George McFry