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State Energy Commission Considers New Energy Rules For Flat Screen TVs

California could approve first-in-the-nation energy standards for flat screen TVs next month. The State Energy Commission held a public hearing on the issue Tuesday. Noah Horowitz, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco, said the new standards are needed because consumers are buying bigger screens that use a lot of electricity.

“Once these standards go into effect new TVs sold in California will use 30 to 50 percent less energy than they do today," Horowitz said. "And, this is a really big deal because they’ll cut California’s energy use by close to a $ 1 billion a year. And, will cut the need to build a large power plant.”

Some TV manufacturers and retailers oppose the regulations.

Peter Fannon, Vice President of the Panasonic Corporation, said many flat screen models already save more power than they would under the new rules.

“We believe the best solution is to stick with the voluntary program," said Fannon. "And for the California Energy Commission itself to continue to monitor how well that program is doing.”

If approved, the new standards would be phased in starting in 2011. The California Energy Commission could vote on the standards as early as November fourth.