Globally, online electronic devices are wasting over £46bn worth of electricity a year, according to a new report.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) claims that technology, including set-top boxes, modems, printers and game consoles, wastes around £46.6bn ($80bn, €58.5bn) annually due to "inefficient technology".

The report explains that the majority of the wastage comes as a result of network standby, whereby an internet connection is maintained in standby mode. In fact, the IEA says network-enabled devices use as much power in this mode as they do when in full operation.

It goes on to state that the situation is only set to worsen if we continue in this current trend. By 2020, the IEA predicts that, globally, the devices will be wasting just shy of £70bn annually.

"The proliferation of connected devices brings many benefits to the world, but right now the cost is far higher than it should be," said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven.

"Consumers are losing money in the form of wasted energy, which is leading to more costly power stations and more distribution infrastructure being built than we would otherwise need, not to mention all the extra greenhouse gases that are being emitted. But it need not be this way.

"If we adopt best available technologies we can minimise the cost of meeting demand as the use and benefits of connected devices grows."

In 2013, the IEA says that the world's networked devices used almost 616 terawatt (TWh) hours of electricity, with almost 400 TWh – the combined usage of the UK and Norway annually - wasted because of "inefficient technology".

"The problem is not that these devices are often in standby mode, but rather that they typically use much more power than they should to maintain a connection and communicate with the network," van der Hoeven continued.

"Just by using today's best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks in standby while consuming around 65% less power."