Every one is looking for ways to save California from itself and we think the best place to start is the state’s own Energy Commission.
We don’t know the entire scope of their regulatory powers but based upon their recent move to ban the sale of “energy-hungry big-screen televisions”, we believe it's indicative of their overall behavior and as such it's time for them to go.
Though valid, putting aside the “un-accountable busy-body bureaucrat” argument for a moment, the reason why this commission is useless is because this ban on energy-hungry T.V.s is totally unnecessary.
In the open and competitive market of big screens, the competition is driving technology that results in more efficient devices, so much so that the television industry will not have any problems meeting the commission’s phased-in restrictions.
"We're comfortable with our ability to meet the proposed levels and implementation dates," said Kenneth R. Lowe, Vizio's co-founder and vice president.
"Voluntary efforts are succeeding without regulations," said Doug Johnson, the association's senior director for technology policy. Too much government interference could hamstring industry innovation and prove expensive to manufacturers and consumers, he warned.
(full disclosure: we own a Vizio product. Mr. Lowe deserves a raise)
However, because the free market is to the commission as Sanskrit is to us, it results in the following:
"We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy," said Commissioner Julia Levin, who has been in charge of the two-year rule-making procedure. "This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs."
Tightening efficiency ratings by using new technology and materials should result in "zero increase in cost to consumers," said Harinder Singh, an Energy Commission staffer on the TV regulation project.
Julia, Harinder… then why are you implementing the restrictions? The desired result of your eco-crusading is already happening. You may feel really good about what you are doing but in reality you’re not bringing anything to the party.
When we made our LCD purchase 3 months ago, we did so at the local big box store and we were inundated with choices from different manufacturers all touting their energy efficiency with the data to back it up. Why this rush to energy efficiency? Well, it may be the right thing to do but beyond that, energy efficiency costs the consumer less and thus makes one competitive in the market place.
It's time to put down the California Energy Commission because (paraphrasing an oft-heard quote) energy efficiency happens.