To hear some people tell it, the big bad regulators at the California Energy Commission are coming for your television. They're going to ban big-screen TVs and force you to shop on the black market if you want to see next year's Super Bowl in life-size high-def.
Don't believe it. The Energy Commission, after a year of study, is close to adopting new regulations designed to make big-screen televisions as energy-efficient as washing machines, electric dryers and refrigerators. The new rules will save electricity and save you money, both directly on the power you use and indirectly by avoiding the need for California's utilities to build costly and polluting new power plants.
This is the same agency that led the nation in mandating energy efficiency for kitchen and laundry appliances. Refrigerators used to be the biggest energy hogs in the home. But after the California Energy Commission required them to meet new efficiency standards, appliance companies responded and now refrigerators are bigger, better and using less electricity than ever before.
California, in fact, is the most energy-efficient state in the nation. According to the commission, our electricity use per capita has remained constant over the past 30 years. The average Californian uses about 40 percent less electricity than the national average.
But as other appliances have become more energy-efficient, televisions, especially big-screen televisions, have become one of the major users of household electricity. California's 35 million televisions now account for 10 percent of all domestic electricity consumption.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.