California Poised to Ban Big-Screen TVs – Data be Damned!

November 13, 2009

In its unquenchable thirst to claim “leadership” on environmental issues, the California Energy Commission is expected by most government watchers to enact new rules that will effectively ban one out of four TV sets currently sold in the Golden State.  Instead, buyers may head to nearby and sales-tax-free Nevada or up to Oregon to satiate their big screen desires.

Lost in the reams of manufactured data conveniently provided by the state’s electricity generating utilities are the facts.  Instead, the very entities that will benefit from a regulation (that would be the utilities with stockholders as well as ratepayers) have suggested sweeping and unnecessary regulations that are like a parlor game of hide and seek.

They claim unmitigated disaster if this crisis of the grid is left unchecked.  They also ignore enormous advances in energy efficiency that TV makers have voluntarily instituted nationwide – with 20 percent year-over-year improvements in energy efficiency.

Consider some of the more specious arguments made by the drama-loving but factually-starved environmentalists who are squawking in this debate:

  • They say that TV sets are responsible for 10% of your electric bill.  Sounds like it might be possible, but it’s also false.  Try three or four percent, as a fact.  Want to know what consumes nearly HALF of your home’s electricity?  Heating and air conditioning.  But that’s not as sexy as the crusade to reign in the boob tube.
  • They claim that bigger TVs are a threat to the state’s electrical grid, with ever bigger screens gobbling more and more electricity.  Ummm, also not true.  Buying an already-efficient flat-screen set (no regulation necessary) and then chucking the 36-inch TV you dragged to the basement will do more to cut your electrical bill than any regulations that have been proposed.  Even the little 25-inch TV in my bedroom, which dates from 1994, is sucking seven times the power of a new TV when turned it’s turned off!  Why not a program to encourage old TV recycling and new TV purchases?  Save energy AND stimulate the economy.  Wait, can’t do that.  It would make sense.
  • But the ultimate fight is being waged in the battle of the Living Room versus the Kitchen, believe it or not.  Listen to the environmental community beat their chests about the almighty refrigerator and how it’s been tamed by the sterling regulators to become a purring paragon of energy efficiency.  Lo, behold the TV behemoth and how it consumes more energy than the frugal fridge.  Gee, that sounds good — but it also is NOT TRUE.  Turns out that a new flat-screen plasma TV only sips a tiny amount of juice, when compared to the icebox.  In fact, a modest 21-cubic foot standard refrigerator will drain 45 percent more energy than a new 42-inch plasma.

So don’t let the facts, and relevant, up-to-date data cloud the issue.

Go ahead California, lead the way — right down the primrose path of feel-good regulations that will only hurt consumers, California-based electronics retailers, and state tax coffers.

After all, what’s a few million in much-needed revenue when you can issue a great press release?


One Response to “California Poised to Ban Big-Screen TVs – Data be Damned!”

  1. Erik Roza Says:

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