STANDBY buttons on electrical appliances such as televisions should be disabled or removed to help the environment, Scotland's biggest energy supplier said last night.
ScottishPower has called for urgent action to tackle the current wasteful situation which sees gadgets on standby, or charging up, running up a bill of 62 million and producing 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in Scotland every year.
But manufacturers claim changes to the design of many electrical appliances would push up production costs.
Figures released by the Energy Saving Trust reveal a typical household in Scotland will have about 12 gadgets on standby or charging at any one time. A television left on standby uses 90 per cent of its normal energy. Televisions left on standby waste 8 million in Scotland and 88 million across the UK every year.
ScottishPower wants the government to persuade manufacturers to take responsibility for energy resources needlessly used up by standby buttons. The company's suggestion is part of a raft of proposals submitted to the government's 12-week Energy Review consultation scheme which finishes today.
A spokesman for Scottish- Power said: "There was an urgent need to reduce the UK's energy usage without constraining its economic growth.
"Practically, there is a lot that can be done, one of the more obvious being the restriction of 'standby' controls on the likes of televisions, computers and stereos."
However Matthew Armishaw of the green lobby group, the Market Transformation Programme, said the move could have repercussions for business: "If the UK introduced a mandatory minimum eco-standard for its TV producers, costs would increase because a special model would have to be made for the UK market."
Mike Thornton, head of the Energy Saving Trust, in Scotland, said: "It is imperative that we become more aware of how using energy has a direct impact on the environment."
Counting the cost
• TVs: Waste 7.9m of energy in Scotland and produce 43,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
• Stereos: UK-wide waste 26m of energy; produce 142,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
• VCRs: Waste 16m of energy; produce 86,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
• Games consoles: Use 6.4m of energy; produce 34,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
• DVDs: Use 1.7m of energy; produce 9,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide.