FTC wants input on Energy Guides for electronics

altConsumers may soon have no excuse for buying an electricity-guzzling TV set.

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed requiring Energy Guide labels on all TVs sold in the United States. The agency is seeking public comment by May 14 on specific requirements for TV energy labels, including where the labels should be located and how they should be formatted.

The FTC is also proposing label requirements for Internet and catalogue sales of TVs. Congress directed the FTC in 2007 to develop requirements for disclosing energy use on TVs, personal computers, computer monitors, cable and satellite set-top boxes, digital video recorders and a number of other electronics products.

A 50-inch plasma TV typically uses 253 kilowatt hours a month, adding about $30 to your monthly electric bill.

An Xbox 360 costs an extra $17 to power. A high-definition cable box would likely cost around $4 a month.

Most appliances and electronics manufacturers already label their electricity requirements, but you usually have to hunt around to find it. The FTC wants to require a uniform label in the same place on every product so buyers know where to look.

The consumer electronics industry has made major strides in making products more energy efficient. The Consumer Electronics Association says the labels will give information to consumers at the time of purchase as well as incentivize manufacturers to make devices even more eco-friendly.