Britain: A nation on ‘standby’


MoneyPlus Features Team

20th October 2016 at 9:00am

Britain is a nation on standby, according to the ‘Powering the nation’ study completed by Energy Saving Trust.

The study showed that between 9% and 16% of the electricity consumed in homes is used to power appliances when they are in this standby mode. On a bill of £500 this could account for as much as £80, which is a significant proportion when it doesn’t really achieve anything.

Don’t standby and waste money

While leaving any electronic device on standby for a prolonged period of time is a waste of energy, there are certain appliances around the home that are the worst offenders. Based on some info from uSwitch, we’ve pulled together the following list so you know which ones to target.


More of the same

A few more of the top electricity wasters according to uSwitch are the stereo followed by TVs and games consoles. Games consoles are particularly bad as they will remain at idle when not on and still burn nearly the same amount of energy as if they were still being used. Given that children are not the most energy-conscious consumers, making sure they turn things off could be a game changer.

If you’re using a desktop computer then make sure you set up ‘sleep mode’ in your settings. Screen-savers still consume the same amount of energy as they do when they are in full use.

Laptops are more efficient than PCs

And when you’ve finished using your computer, remember to turn it off at the plug along with other accessories such as printers and scanners.

Laptops are more energy efficient than desktop computers given they run off a battery but the mistake people make is leaving them constantly on charge when in use. Keep an eye on the battery level and when it’s full: unplug it.

The same thing often happens with your mobile phone too. The modern mobile can charge relatively quickly yet people will leave them plugged in for lengthy periods while not in use or charge them overnight, wasting electricity in the process.

Click here to read our article on how to make a saving on your household bills.

A waste disposal

If you struggle to keep track of what’s on and don’t fancy roaming the house in search of electrical offenders, invest in an energy-saving plug. These allow you to turn off electrical appliances completely using a remote control. You should be able to turn off up to four plugs with each control, but this does differ between models.

Stay plugged in

Understanding how much it costs to run various appliances around the house, and using them smartly, will save you money on your energy bills. Always look for the most energy-efficient new appliances, and when you get them home don’t leave them on standby – and don’t leave them filling up with juice when they’re already full.

Read the full ‘Powering the Nation’ report here.

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The information in this blog or any response to comments should not be regarded as financial advice and is correct as of October 2016.