Big-Screen TVs and the California Power Crisis

Today’s L.A. Times says that L.A. Department of Water & Power forecast a peak power usage in L.A. four years from now of 6,100 megawatts. It happened this week instead.

Why? A week of 100-plus degree temperatures that had people running central air non-stop (even if under a quarter of Angelenos have air conditioning), but also the increased usage of big-screen TVs, especially plasma sets that use 50% more power than traditional TVs.


  1. fartikus says:

    our dual central ACs were running nonstop for ten days. i am expecting a $750 utility bill for the month. but what can you do? it was literally too hot to go outside. i’ll be in the same boat as everyone else – i’ll be paying for the power i use.
    we’re not totally inefficient from what i can tell. a trip to the mall indicated that a *lot* of people were outsourcing their cooling to the mall and its costs to the mall’s landlord…people were just sitting on the floor, reading books, eating packed lunches. far too many of them to bother trying to rouse them for loitering. maybe this is just a good idea for the one or two weeks a year that its just too hot, probably cheaper than all of these people getting AC in their houses.

  2. Yeah, I’ve been in So-Cal for over 10 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. In San Diego it’s very rare that we don’t get nighttime cooling to offset the heat of the day. This time there was no relief…
    Don’t forget that another effect of all the wall-wart’s, devices on ‘stand-by’, and, yes, the plasma TV’s is that in addition to using electricity, they generate heat which must then be pumped out by the A/C. Now is a good time to add switches to your unused electronics, so you can make sure they’re fully powered down when not in use.

  3. It seems that USG Design Criteria in the recent past did not permit A/C in government facilities located in California. Instead, evaporative coolers were specified to conserve energy. Did the USG change its criteria???
    Shouldn’t Californians expect to pay a surcharge for wasteful energy use??? Was Enron right in “overcharging” Californians for its extravagant use of A/C ?? I think so. Fair is fair.

  4. save the rustbelt says:

    Maybe moving millions of people to the southwest with chronic water and power shortages wasn’t such a hot idea (bad pun, sorry).
    Come on back to the Rustbelt, we forgive you (record rain this year, some heat, plenyt of power).