Digital Switchover – hidden environmental cost?

 I have written about the cost in energy terms of the switchover to digital TV before on Tory Radio. I can across the following PQ asked by Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner which interested me:-

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the effect of digital switchover on energy consumption levels. [108441]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

Digital switchover is expected to have an impact on both transmitter power usage and consumer power usage.

Digital transmission is more efficient than analogue in terms of power usage. Replacing the analogue terrestrial transmission network with a nationwide digital terrestrial television network will lead to a significant net reduction in energy usage by the transmission networks, estimated to be 186 GWh per year.

Consumer power usage is expected to rise as a result of switchover, primarily because of the rapid increase in the take-up of set-top boxes, particularly for second sets, which would not be otherwise converted until replaced. The predicted level of the increase is dependent on a number of assumptions about the usage and the design of equipment in the market at the time of switchover. DCMS, DTI and DEFRA economists have estimated that the increase in consumer energy use attributable to switchover in 2012 is likely to be between 966 GWh and 2,816 GWh per annum. The increase is equivalent to a 0.37 per cent. increase in domestic electricity consumption.

The central estimate for the total impact of switchover is a net increase of 1,705 GWh per year, but this would be reduced if industry makes more energy-efficient products. Work on this is being taken forward as part of the DTI usability action plan.

Further details are contained in the ‘Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment: The timing of digital switchover’, published on 16 September 2005. This was placed in the Libraries of the House at the time of publication, and is also available at


Now can any energy experts tell me just how much electric 2.816GWh is? Am I right in thinking that 1GWh is equivalent to to 1 million kilowatt hours – in which case that's a fairly large amount of electric.

So the switch to digital isnt very environementally friendly is it 

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