How much does being on Standby cost you?

30 June 2014

plug-socketEveryone knows by now that leaving things on stand by means we are using unnecessary energy. When this first became news, we were all living in our pre-financial crisis utopias, waving wads of cash like Loadsamoney, and doing something just to save the environment was a bit of a hard sell.

Now, of course, we are way more money-savvy, and many people will already take those extra few seconds to turn the switch off rather than leave appliances in eternal standby- assuming there is an actual off button that is. Other things merely need to remain plugged in to be sucking away at your electricity, meaning an energy-intensive crouch to switch off at the wall or unplug is required to minimise those bills.

The Energy Saving Trust has already estimated that each household literally burns good money to the tune of around £80 a year by leaving appliances on standby but now green energy provider Ecotricity has only gone and calculated which specific appliances are costing you the most dosh.

Top of the power-muching pops is actually wireless routers, a modern day necessity that we cannot live without.  And an extra £21.92 a year to save the thing rebooting every time you turn it on, not to mention all that blue-light web surfing in bed, is probably not too much to ask. But what about shelling out £18.92 a year to leave your laser printer on? Surely that’s worth the flick of a switch?

At the bottom end are things like night lights (73p per year), electric toothbrushes (they have plugs?) and modern monitors and TVs. Confusingly, however, a mobile phone charger uses  a modest £2.44 a year, but an iPad charger uses a greedy £12.18; iPhone 5+ owners will wonder which amount applies to then, given the lightning charger charges both mobile phone and iPad…

The full list of appliances is shown below. So now if you only have three seconds’ worth of spare time for unplugging, you know the order of priority to save you the most on your energy bill.

Annual energy usage while on standby:

Wireless Router (e.g. BT Hub) - £21.92
Printer (Laser) - £18.26
Set-top (Satellite) - £18.26
Amplifier - £12.18
Compact Hi-Fi - £12.18
iPad charger - £12.18
Nintendo Wii - £12.18
Set-top box (Freeview) - £7.31
Alarm Clock - £6.09
Microsoft Xbox 360 - £6.09
Modem - £6.09
Sony PlayStation 3 - £6.09
Air freshener plug-in - £4.87
CD player / Tuner - £4.87
Television (Plasma) - £4.87
Video Player - £4.87
Inkjet printer - £4.26
Desktop PC - £3.65
Nintendo DS - £3.65
Oven (Electric) - £3.65
Microwave - £3.04
Television (CRT & LCD) - £3.04
Mobile phone charger - £2.44
PC monitor (CRT) - £2.44
Electric toothbrush - £1.22
Childs night light - £0.73

TOPICS:   Utilities


  • Jack S.
    Bit pointless having an alarm clock if you are going to turn it off every night to save money isnt it.
  • Magoo
    These numbers are rubbish and easily proved wrong. For instance, an ipad charger uses under a watt when idle, you can test this very simply by using one of those plug-in power monitors. If it is using less than a watt, it cannot possibly be costing £12.18 a year...
  • God
    Those figures are suspiciously high. My ancient CRT TV has a standby power usage of 0.5watts; that equals less than 60p per year in electric, or less than 20% of the quoted figures. In other words they are STILL vastly over-inflating costs, just as they have done since the campaign first started years ago.
  • Mr M.
    So modern phone chargers don't get hot when in use, and most don't have an LED. How can it use any electricity (unless my nan was right and we should unplug everything before we go to bed...)
  • JonB
    At 13.52p/kWh (EST figure for 2013), leaving a device on standby for a year (8760 hours) would cost £1.19 per watt of consumption. Working those figures into the EST estimate above means that a Wii would consume 10.28W in standby. However, the official figure from is 1.5W. For WiFi routers the EST figure is 18.5W and the TPCDB figure is 5-10W. Someone is misleading us.
  • George C.
    "I don't believe it".
  • Fuck p.
    This is actually nowhere near as much as I expected. In fact, it's pretty fucking cheap. I think I will leave MORE of my shit on standby. Someone should post this on HUKD...
  • Kevin
    Wireless router at the most expensive = 6p a day. Oh my god I'm getting ripped off!
  • Coran
    Most of those numbers are just wrong. Must include actually using the device. Most modern appliances have the eco standard, EcoStar? I forget what it's called, where standby must be less than 1w. Which equates to about £1/year. Unless the survey includes all the rubbish from the 1990s still kicking about.
  • jokester5
    The EST obviously did not test some (all?) of these chargers and are just making seriously incorrect assumptions. Apple chargers for instance, draw only 0.25W when plugged in but not actually charging the device, which would cost less than 32p a year if left plugged in for the whole duration. Shoddy work EST!
  • Slacker
    Nothing, cos I turn all this stuff off when I'm not using it. Hardly rocket science, is it?

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