The California Energy Commission is expected to adopt rules this summer requiring retailers by 2011 to sell only TVs that meet guidelines of the federal Energy Star program, which is generally voluntary, reports the Associated Press. The proposal includes labeling that tells California buyers how much of their utility bill goes to powering their TV. The rules would be the country’s first mandatory energy standards for televisions and would further tighten in 2013. California utilities and environmental groups say the rules will play a key role in reducing electricity use as consumers buy larger TVs and schools, bars, and restaurants install more flat-screen displays. Serving a population of nearly 38 million, California’s uneven energy supplies often result in threats of blackouts on the hottest days. The average plasma TV uses more than three times as much energy as an old cathode-ray tube set, and a 48-inch plasma TV can draw more power than a large refrigerator–even if the set is used only a few hours a day, California regulators said. Liquid-crystal display, or LCD, TVs guzzle a little less–about 43 percent more energy than tube sets, according to a recent study. Retailers and manufacturers say many newer flat-screen TVs use less power than tube sets, noting that 100 available models already go beyond the standards California wants to reach by 2013. The problem is that the best-quality screens use the most electricity…

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