Turning consoles off means going on the game for cheap
Buying little Johnny a PS3 for Christmas, for him to satisfy his pre-teen homicidal urges in Slasher Maniac VII: Blood Thru the Ages? Better remember to unplug the bloody thing after he's finished gutting those Victorian whores. The frankly terrifying graph below says it all.
US environmental action group the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has tested the energy use of popular games consoles, and found that at the top end of usage, a 2006 model PS3 costs 10 times more in terms of electricity if left switched on when unused. NRDC estimated the annual energy cost of the console when in use to be just $15 a year; leaving it on continuously ramped the bill up to a neck-craning $160.
It's blindingly common sense, really. Leaving something switched on still uses power, but most people probably don't realise to what extent. In these tough times when every penny counts, it's time to start following them. Phone chargers, entertainment systems, PCs - if you're not using them, switch them off. Sorry to sound like your mum, but it's for your own good.