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Calif. wants to axe energy-guzzling TVs

September 18, 2009 6:21:26 PM PDT
California could become the first state in the country to crack down on energy-guzzling big screen televisions.Just when big screen televisions have come down in cost, there's a chance that prices will go back up again, that is if the California Energy Commission gets its way.

The commission released new standards Friday, designed to save more than $8 billion dollars off electricity bills in California over the next decade. Even tougher restrictions could follow for 2013. The commission hopes to approve these restrictions in November.

But in order to meet the standards, the manufacturers may have to raise prices.

"To be honest with you, as long as a TV has god picture, and I can see it and it's clear, that's all that matters to me," says Ken Gates, a TV shopper, when asked if he would pay more for an energy conserving TV.

If the standards were to go into effect, many television sets wouldn't be for sale, and in this economy that would certainly hurt the TV industry.

"That pretty much puts a 61-yaer-old business out of business," says Steve Caldero of Ken Cranes.

Caldero says that with the new standards, he wouldn't be able to sell up to 25 percent of sets he has now. But he adds that manufacturers are already working on energy efficiency.

In Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Sharp showed two identical sets, with one using half the energy of the other.

Also, in stores now, Samsung has a new LED set that consumes 40 percent less than typical LCD televisions.

"Every year for the last five years, they've made improvements in the energy consumption of everything we sell," says Caldero.

The Energy Commission will hold a public comment period for the next 45 days, and the new standards could be in effect in 2011.

But really big TVs, over 58 inches would be exempt until 2013.

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