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Saving energy: switching off standby

  • by JW

 “Unplugging things that for most of the time are doing nothing but consuming electricity.”


It seems that you really can save quite a lot by switching off standby.

With an introduction from the Pulse Energy company:

Does turning everything off actually save power?

As your TV show wraps up, you lean over to grab the remote and turn the tele off. The screen fades to black – and that’s the exact moment your TV stops using electricity, right?


Standby power – sometimes referred to as phantom load, ghost load, vampire power and other oddly spooky names – is the name given to electricity that your household gadgets and gizmos use when they’re left on standby. From your microwave to your Xbox and everything in between, there are probably dozens of appliances in your home that are quietly drawing power while on standby. Essentially this means that you’re paying for power that you’re not even using. Turning these appliances off at the wall can help you save power, but how much of an impact does it really have on your power bill?

Pulse Energy | Does turning everything off actually save power?

Here’s a further explanation and further tips from Good Housekeeping:

5 appliances you should always switch off to save energy

According to British Gas, you can save an average of £110 on your yearly energy bill just by switching off ‘vampire electronics’. These are gadgets that drain power when left on standby mode.

“Standby power is the electricity used by appliances when they’re switched off or on ‘rest mode’,” explains Chris Saunders, household energy expert and founder of “Almost any product with an external power supply, or which charges batteries, will draw some power continuously unless shut down or switched off at the mains.”

To help you cope with the energy crisis and save money, here are five appliances you should always switch off completely and never leave on standby to save energy…

5 appliances you should always switch off to save energy

And today’s Mail on Sunday takes a gadget around the house to test the claims:

Can you REALLY save a fortune by switching off the TV at the wall and boiling less water for a cup of tea? Armed with a new-fangled gadget, TOBY WALNE tests those energy-saving claims

Don’t leave all those appliances on standby

The cost of living crisis has attracted a raft of energy-saving suggestions. One of the main ones we keep hearing is the British Gas claim that you can save £110 a year by switching off devices left on standby. It sounds far-fetched, but it bases this figure on the fact that ‘Brits could save 23 per cent on their electricity bills each year by switching off their vampire electronics’.

To test the validity of the claim, I tool myself up with a new-fangled £20 power meter. It plugs into a standard electrical socket – with the electrical item to be tested being plugged into the meter. It then shows me how much electricity is being used by the device.

I start with my phone charger plugged into a socket in the kitchen of my house in Hertfordshire. The meter tells me it is drawing 6.3 watts of electricity without charging any device. If I were to leave this charger doing nothing for a year, it would cost me £16 of electricity. Being a family of four and with chargers coming out of our ears, I estimate we are spending at least £60 on chargers that for most of the time are doing nothing but consuming electricity.

Armed with a new-fangled gadget, TOBY WALNE tests energy-saving claims | Daily Mail Online

Finally, what would all these individual household savings add up to?

As a local commentator points out:

“What we really need to know is how much the whole grid would save if the total population cut back this way!”