Television sets in California will be required to be more energy efficient
Energy-hungry television sets will soon be banned across California in a landmark move by state legislators to reduce energy consumption.
The state will be the first in the US to impose a mandatory energy curb on TVs, an often-overlooked power drain.
Supporters say the move will help save California residents more than $8bn over 10 years in energy costs.
But some 25% of TVs currently on sale would not meet the minimum standards, an industry group in Virginia said.
The California Energy Commission will require that all new television sets up to 58 inches (147cm) be more energy efficient by 2011, consuming 33% less energy than current sets.
The standards will get even tougher in 2013, when regulators will require sets to be 50% more efficient.
"We have every confidence this industry will be able to meet the rule and then some," energy commissioner Julia Levin said.
"It will save consumers money, it will help protect public health and it will spark innovation."
Television usage currently accounts for 10% of home electricity use in California, according to the state's energy commission.
Environmental groups applauded the tougher standards, saying the new rules would help avoid the need for a new 500-megawatt power plant to be built and save nearly $1bn each year.
However, some consumer advocates and industry leaders opposed the move, saying it would limit consumer choice and increase the price of television sets.
"It could drive up costs," said Dave Arland, who represents the plasma television industry.
"The ones that are super energy efficient are the ones that are more pricey."
California has long pioneered environmental change, setting tough standards on everything from refrigerators to washing machines.
As a result, electricity use in the state has stayed level for nearly three decades, whereas it has risen elsewhere in the US.