What a load of codswallop - they may consume around 30% more energy than an equivalent LCD, but this is only the case if they are displaying a white screen. Like for like, they are not actually too dis-similar.
A conventional CCFL LCD has its light on all the time using x amount of energy without fail, if a plasma is displaying a lot of black on the screen, it can do so with less energy because it does not have a backlight.
This is why plasma owns LCD when it comes to displaying black. Ive never heard of them being banned - try telling Richer Sounds, they must be selling a LOT of illegal goods. Panasonic are simply one of the few manufacturers who are still developing plasma technology, and with each generation they get more and more energy efficient.
The thing is, manufacturers were expected SED's to be mass-market affairs by now, so most stopped development of plasma in favour of LCD and the promise of SED and OLED screens coming in the future, but alas so far, neither have been put into production as both technologies are taking longer than expected to get to market.