No such thing as an “Off” switch anymore!

Did you know that your cell phone charger is sucking electricity out of the wall even when you don’t have a phone plugged into it? Did you know that your television, VCR and cable box can suck up to 30 watts of power, constantly, even when you supposedly have all the stuff “turned off”?

This New York Times article about energy sucking devices says that on average, people have enough stuff like this in their house that it is constantly using around 150 watts, all the time. That’s like keeping a 150 watt light bulb turned on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Registration required to see the article, but it is free.)

“As a country we pay $1 billion a year to power our TV’s and VCR’s while they’re turned off,” said Maria T. Vargas, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, which sets voluntary standards for energy use, and grants its ratings to the most efficient products.

But fortunately, it looks like new standards for standby energy consumption are on the way, so that manufacturers will spend the extra 50 cents to drastically improve standby consumption.

In the meantime, can I send my electric bill to my cable company for partial reimbursement? After all, it’s THEIR cable box that is sucking away MY electricity, right?

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