As furore rages over suggestions that current plasma and LCD TVs should be banned in Australia because of their high use of power, questions are being raised about the validity of Digital CEnergy and Keith Jones — the author of a report that has already been slammed by Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Keith Jones is the Chair of a number of Standards Australia committees relating to digital television and is the former general manager of the Panasonic TV factory at Penrith. He also appears to be the author of several reports that have gone nowhere in Australia.
Attempts to talk to Jones or any executives from Digital CEnergy have proved futile. A search of the Australian Securities Commission database reveals a business name registration for the organisation, however a principle place of business for the organisation is listed as unknown.
Initial investigations reveal that Digital CEnergy is a one man band run by Keith Jones and despite having no principle place of business Jones has been able to extract funding from the Australian Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office who last week paraded a report by Jones as being the basis of a discussion calling for the banning by October 2008 of current LCD and Plasma TVs.
The credibility of Jones is now being called into question as what he has proposed is simply not workable according to members of Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s staff, along with senior executives of major consumer electronic vendors.
Digital CEnergy claims that energy rating labels are needed to tell consumers about the performance of the TVs. But under a proposed six-star rating system, most current plasma TVs do not meet the requirements and therefore could be removed from sale.
The report also suggests “minimum energy performance standards” should be introduced, which would eliminate the worst performing TVs.
It would mean all current plasma TVs and many LCDs could be removed from sale by 2011.
Manufacturers say they support the introduction of energy efficiency standards, but they need more time before the measures are implemented.
Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum (ADSIF) coordinator Tim O’Keefe says it is unrealistic to expect manufacturers to meet the guidelines so soon.
“It’s just totally unreasonable considering that we’re a very small part of the global market,” he said.
“They’re expecting that the global suppliers will actually introduce or develop the technologies in such a time frame to be introduced for the Australian market.”
But Australian Greenhouse Office spokesman Gene McGlynn says it is likely manufacturers will have two years to meet any standard that is introduced.
“By the time the standard came into place, with the industry knowing that the standards are coming in, they can adjust their supply chains to make sure that the products will [meet the requirements],” he said.
“Again the history is that all the reputable suppliers will meet the standard.”