Energy-guzzling flatscreen plasma televisions will soon be banned as part of the battle against climate change, ministers have revealed.
“Minimum-energy performance standards” for televisions are expected to be agreed across Europe this spring, they say, and this should lead to “phasing out the most inefficient TVs”. At the same time, a compulsory labelling system will be drawn up to identify the best and worst devices.
The moves, which follow last week's withdrawal of the 100W incandescent lightbulb, are part of a drive to slow the rapid growth of electricity consumption in homes by phasing out wasteful devices and introducing more efficient ones. Giant plasma televisions can consume four times as much energy as traditional TVs that used cathode ray tubes (CRTs).
The number of televisions in homes, together with other electrical devices such as computers, scanners and coffee-makers, has also grown rapidly; there are now 60 million of them, one for every person in the country.
The amount of power needed to run this electronic explosion has more than doubled in the same period, and the official Energy Savings Trust estimates that it will grow by another 12 per cent over the next four years.
Different makes and models of television vary in their use of power, but a 42in plasma television may use some 822 kilowatt hours a year, compared to 350kWh by an LCD flat screen of the same size. A 32in CRT, the biggest available, would use 322kWh.
Now governments are finalising a mandatory EU regulation to set minimum standards for TVs. The worst performers will be phased out, and the rest will have to be labelled with energy ratings. The scheme is modelled on an existing one for white goods which has greatly increased their efficiency.