Prompted by recent ‘climate concerns’ and my pocket! I invested in a Maplin Power meter. (see photo below). For the princely sum of about £14 you get a complete Watt/VA meter with LCD display. It seems to stack up with the published power ratings on most devices around the home. I’ve checked a few small chargers, PC’s and compared some LCD and CRT monitors around the home. In truth there’s not a huge saving switching from CRT to LCD just to save power. Any saving due to the passive nature of the display is partially negated by the the back light technology. Basically they still suck up the watts! There’s lots of interest in the subject. A whole new wave of products are emerging including the type that indicate the total household consumption. Check out ‘WATTSON’ at

More worrying though is my Telewest/Virgin Media set top box, manufactured by PACE. Commissioned here a few years back due to indifferent analogue TV reception here in Kingston. Worrying at a level but when ‘in standby’ the unit consumes 12W ! When ‘on’ marginally more at 13W although it’s flickering on the least significant digit. So much for Standby then as it’s the same when it’s on! I’m reliably informed by an ex designer of where the power is apportioned i.e. where the 12W is going. But my question is , why is do I need or want it? I would understand the unit has to be on to receive updates to the epg, new firmware or whatever. But this means for a good 20 hours a day it’s running at 12W . I’d personally rather it were zero or if Virgin want it on, let them pay or source the power!