California is set to become the first state to ban power-guzzling big-screen televisions, despite efforts by influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Association to fight regulations. The proposed rules would set maximum energy-consumption standards for televisions, to be phased in over two years starting in January 2011.

The trade group asked members of the California Energy Commission on Tuesday to allow consumers to decide for themselves whether they want power-hungry televisions or more energy-efficient models.

Doug Johnson, senior director for the group, claimed that government interference would hamper innovation and cost too much for consumers – but television manufacturers don’t all share his views.

Some, like Vizio Inc., said complying with the regulations without raising prices substantially wouldn’t be a problem.

In fact, many consumers would end up saving money. Commission staff engineer Jeff Rider says television owners could average a first-year savings of $30.

And, the regulations could be a boon to the budget-challenged state of California as well, by avoiding the $600-million cost of building a natural-gas-fired power plant.

"We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy," said California Commissioner Julia Levin.

"This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs."

California may be first to ban power-hungry big-screen TVs
Legislators in California will vote to set maximum energy-consumption standards for televisions, possibly becoming the first state to ban inefficient television