FACT CHECK: HB 2416 TV Efficiency Standards

Why standards? There are nearly 6 million TVs in Washington today and we add an additional 73,000 TVs every year. As TVs get bigger, energy use continues to grow; TVs now represent about 10% of US household energy use.

What’s proposed? New TVs would be required to be 20% more energy efficient by 2011 and 50% more by 2013. The new models would offer the same or better picture and performance while improving the energy efficiency of the TV at no additional cost to the consumer. More than 1000 models already on the market meet the 2011 standard and 300 meet the 2013 standard.

What are the benefits?

  • According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, by 2030 the standards would save 190 aMW – equivalent to powering more than 143,000 Washington homes for a year.
  • Consumers pay the same for a TV – but save on their electric bills, between $50 -$200 per television over the life of the set.
  • The more energy we conserve, the less need to build new expensive power plants.

Why not stick with the Energy Star® Program? Energy Star is a national, voluntary program; energy efficient TVs can achieve an Energy Star label – but it does not prevent the sale of less efficient TVs that add to electric bills for the life of the TV.

What about industry claims that the standards are “all cost and no benefit”? Not surprisingly, lobbyists from the Consumer Electronics Association claim that requiring new TVs to be efficient will cripple the industry. But CEA doesn’t speak for the entire TV industry – 3M Corp, a CEA member, supports the standards and, in California, Vizio, one of the major US manufacturers, called on regulators to make the standards happen sooner.

Who is supporting HB 2416? Clean energy groups from Sierra Club to the NW Energy Coalition to NRDC; utilities like SnoPUD, Puget Sound Energy and Avista that recognize energy efficiency is the cheapest and cleanest way to meet load growth; and cities like Seattle that want to help keep electric bills affordable for its citizens.

Bottom line: the TVs don’t cost any more than other models. Isn’t it time we win one for consumers and require TVs to be energy efficient – just like we do for refrigerators and water heaters and many other products? Why waste energy?