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Government Power Television Hardware

California Moving Forward With Big-Screen TV Power Restrictions 339

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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  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:56AM (#29776879)

    I think this new law could fast-track the development of larger OLED flat panel TV's.

    Since OLED's don't need backlighting, by definition it means very efficient power usage even on flat panel TV's over 50" in size. Don't be surprised that LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony start pouring in billions of dollars in R&D to overcome the current technical issues and get these larger OLED flat panel TV's into production by 2012 at latest. And unlike LCD TVs, OLED TVs will have extremely fast response times, which means no motion blurring issues even with fast action scenes.

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:51AM (#29777185) must think it's a free country!
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:03AM (#29777275) Journal

    The problem is why this needs to be legislated. If buying the more efficient TV will save you money, then what's the problem? Instead of this kind of micromanaging, why not enact something like the law we have on this side of the pond which requires electrical goods to be sold with a sticker indicating their energy efficiency rating, which can be used to calculate the total cost of ownership quite easily. You could take this a step further and require each item to be labeled with the cost (at the current electricity cost) of operating it for an hour and for the number of hours it is typically operated in one year.

  • Re:Idiots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:10AM (#29777317) Journal
    Legislation, yes, but not this kind of legislation. If I buy, for example, a fridge or a washing machine in the EU, there will be a sticker like this one [] on the front telling me how energy efficient it is. This tells me how much energy it uses in one year, and I can multiply this by my energy cost per kWh and know how much it will cost me to operate annually. I can then do the same thing with the fridge next to it and see if it's worth buying a slightly cheaper one, and if I buy the more expensive one how long it will take to recoup the price difference. Most electrical goods come with a similar sticker now. No products needed to be banned, you just make consumers aware of the total cost ownership, and the market sorts it out. It's now difficult to find anything new with a poor energy rating because people just don't buy them.
  • by cbope ( 130292 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:13AM (#29777339)

    Or, he/she reads the efficiency rating on all major electrical appliances that is required in some markets. I moved to Finland almost 10 years ago from the US and I was surprised to see these labels on practically every type of heavy-use electrical appliance, from dishwashers to refrigerators to washers, dryers and AC units. And the energy consumption information (either watts, VA or A ratings) is easily available. The efficiency rating (A-F) is I believe used EU-wide, but I could be wrong. The efficiency rating is not determined by the manufacturer. When I go to buy a new appliance, the first thing I look for is one with an A+ rating to be sure I am getting the most efficient product within that category. Unfortunately, they do not yet apply the rating to TV's, but I believe it is only a matter of time.

  • Re:Misses The Point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @12:01PM (#29778017)

    In the vein of discourse without reference I will claim that nuclear has the lowest life cycle cost for a continuous power generation technology.

    Wind and solar have to be backed up by this type of facility because they are intermittent.

    This life cycle cost is calculated on a total emissions basis - all emitted carbon must be sequestered permanently, and all radioactive isotopes must be held until gamma emissions are below background.

  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @12:24PM (#29778131)

    The main reason that CA lawmakers have trouble "cleaning house" is because of that "lefty" proposition 13 that allows 1/3 of the lawmakers to block any bill that raises taxes. A return to majority rule would get CA moving again.

  • Re:Misses The Point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @01:00PM (#29778381) Homepage

    Waste discharges are an economic externality, and many libertarian-minded people would argue that it should be regulated (preferably in a market-based manner).

    Financial regulations is a pretty big category - most libertarian-minded people would be in favor of regulation that maximizes transparency and openness, and which prevents the creation of monopolies. So, CEOs misstating profits would be fair game - that is fraud.

    Seat belts are a different matter. People should be perfectly free to drive without wearing seat belts - if people want to kill themselves why should that matter to me? However, I'm all for requiring standardized safety tests with clear disclosure of their results. The goal is to enable consumers to make their own decisions.

    Finally you mention food safety. This is also an area where regulation is perfectly acceptable, because it is not straightforward for a consumer to determine whether a piece of meat they want to buy is contaminated. Now, regulation should be primarily about disclosure. For example, mandating disclosure of use of GMOs seems fine to me - if consumers care they can choose appropriately. Likewise, if there is some big debate about nitrate levels in meat, then require disclosure of nitrate concentration and let consumers decide whether they care or not.

    Most libertarians do not advocate a world free of all regulation - just those which essentially protect people from themselves and often create perverse incentives.

    If you want an example of a perverse incentive - instead of spending $10 more on a TV that uses less power when it runs, maybe some consumers with children would rather spend $10 on a TV with an IR sensor that detects when nobody is in the room and shuts itself off. Such a TV might actually save more power overall, but consumers wouldn't be able to buy it under the proposed regulations. They could only buy a TV that cost $20 more that did this (being forced to spend money on a feature that actually only has a minor improvement for them).

    Others have the right answer - just raise electrical rates to reflect the true cost including all externalities. Then people can figure out what kinds of efficiency improvements make the most sense for them.

  • Re:Misses The Point (Score:4, Interesting)

    by apoc.famine ( 621563 ) <> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @01:29PM (#29778561) Journal

    You're part correct, but part grossly wrong.
    I grew up in the mountains of Vermont and NH, and it's NOT the greens who are against putting turbines in the hills. It's the average joe who lives in a town around where they want to put them that's firmly against them. The reasons:
    a) That's traditional stomping grounds for many. Hunting, hiking, etc.
    b) We like our pristine, forest covered hills. We hate the power-line cuts which mar lots of the hills already, and we hate the ski areas which do as well. This would be another "slash a road up the side of a mountain, then clearcut chunks of it.
    c) It might cost us jobs. VT and NH make tons of money off tourism. People come to see the unspoiled (after we spent 150 years growing it back from the clearcutting) forests and beautiful, trackless hills. If our local hills get a wind farm on them, that tourism money goes to some other town.
    d) The corporations planning on wind farms are doing it behind the backs of the people that live there. Not asking them, not telling them anything. The first they know about it is that there are some folks from NYC or Boston surveying a mountain in their backyard. After the appropriate amount of outrage, the corporation holds a town-hall meeting where they lay out their plan to hack up the woods and stick towers up and fence parts of it off, and then act surprised when most of the people who live there don't support them.
    Yes, the ultra-green group is irritating, and stops all sort of progress. But in the NE, it's generally not the greens who are the problem. It's the average citizen who's getting shafted by some corporation that forms the bulk of the opposition to new power generation plants.
    Nobody likes it when some corporation from out of state comes in, whacks a bunch of trees down, and slaps a structure in. The corporations don't bother pitching it to the locals, they just assume that they can do whatever the fuck they want, wherever they want to do it. I watched this happen in the town next to where I grew up, where I used to go hunting. The plan was to close off the mountain, hack a road up it, and clearcut for a windfarm. The first the locals heard about it was when someone stumbled across the environmental impact statement buried on the state website. The people who surveyed the mountain came in from the back side, and never set foot in the town.
    Yes, green power might be good, but when the corporation who does it is just another sneaky, fuck the consumers and citizens corporation, it doesn't matter. For a lot of the people in the NE, a power corporation is a power corporation, no matter if it's oil, nuclear, or wind. They're all just a bunch of lying, money grubbing, citizen-screwing, faceless corporations.

  • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@earthl ... t minus math_god> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:20PM (#29779631)

    No, we are not a democracy. We are a republic. The government cannot simply round up minorities if it wanted to. I agree that the limits of government is what we are willing to put up with, but that is not a democracy, that is the rule of law as enforced by the people.

    A democracy can only devolve into oligarchy. The minorities will be silenced one by one until a ruling class develops. We don't want a democracy. The government needs to stay out of our homes and dictate such minute details of our lives. I don't care if the majority want me to use energy efficient appliances, that should be my choice. Every thing is a compromise. The trade off to efficient CFL bulbs over incandescent is reduced warm-up time, differing color, among others. One thing that bothers me is that with a CFL bulb I am bringing a glass vessel filled with mercury. People talk about the mercury in the air from coal fired plants but there is a big difference between the mercury "out there" and the mercury "in here". Of course the obvious solution to the air borne mercury issue (obvious to me at least) is to abandon coal power, and replace it with nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro. Oh, and get rid of those stupid CFL bulbs.

    I'm reminded of the war on drugs. The majority decided that people cannot be trusted with certain mind altering substances and so those were banned. People still got them and so the government spent billions in keeping people from doing so. Of all that money spent the most effective means of reducing the use of drugs was not the machine gun toting jack booted thugs kicking down granny's door to... oops, wrong house. The most effective means of reducing drug use has been TV public service announcements. If the government wants people to reduce their electricity use then I propose educating the people on how reducing electricity use will help everyone.

    It seems too many in government don't miss an opportunity to expand it's power, you know, the "never let a good crisis go to waste" mentality. I don't care how the majority has ruled, show me where in the state or federal constitution that the government is granted the power to tell me what kind of TV, toilet, light bulb, or car I can own. The government has been granted certain powers, I suggest they stick to them. Perhaps they should start with maintaining the roads. (Having bridges falling into rivers makes them really look bad, along with all the pot holes I have to dodge on my drive to work.) Once they show competence in that then perhaps they should move on to the postal service.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine