Households waste nearly £100 a year leaving tech on standby: Switch items off

7 December 2017

Tech left on standby can cost households an extra £86 a year, but almost half of Brits don’t believe the savings are worth the effort of changing their energy behaviour at home, a new report reveals.

Comparison site MoneySuperMarket looked at the annual cost of running over 130 household items and found that a TV box - such as Sky or Virgin Media - is the biggest energy drain, costing households over £27 a year, even when the TV is switched off.

Multi-room speaker systems on standby are the second largest drain, costing up to £18.50 yearly, while a wireless router always being left on costs a further £5.37 a year.

Even just having your phone charger plugged in and not charging costs 27p a year.

However, nearly a quarter (24%) of those surveyed by the comparison website said that turning off appliances takes too much time, and over half (55%) admitted they’ve never once turned their wireless router off, even when they go on holiday.  

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, comments: “There are lots of reasons why energy bills are expensive; some we can’t control but others we definitely can. While standby usage for individual appliances doesn’t sound expensive, it can add another £86 to an energy bill but, by being a bit more nimble with usage in the home, households can save money on their bills.”

According to MoneySuperMarket’s research, the most expensive household items to leave on standby over one year are as follows:

  1. Digital TV box (left on) - £25.91
  2. Multi-room speakers (in idle mode) - £19.66
  3. Modem (left on) - £5.64
  4. Microwave (left on) - £3.24
  5. Digital clock (left on) - £1.83
  6. TV (on standby) - £1.23
  7. Coffee maker (left on) - £1.20
  8. Phone charger (plugged in, not charging) - £0.27

See our Energy and water section for more money saving tips.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I just got a new FIBRE BROADBAND router installed for my service with PLUSNET. I have a smart digital wall-plug (adapter) which allows me to see how much power an appliance is using - I was horrified to discover that my new Router is consuming 7 WATTS of power every hour on STANDBY !Some quick arithmetic shows that if I am OFFLINE for 18 HOURS / DAY, I will use 882 WATTS of electricity per week, and 3.5 KILOWATTS per MONTH just being on STANDBY !I don't normally switch things like this OFF at bedtime, but the thought of all this wasted electricity will no doubt lead to a change of habit in that respect !

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Whilst I do turn some items off when not in use e.g microwave, computer etc, many items do not have a mains switch or it is on the rear panel and not easily accessible, nor is the power socket. Things like freeview recorders need to be left on to receive programme updates (often broadcast overnight) and programmes I am not available to watch live. Routers, we are told, should be left on as repeatedly turning them off can be construde as a poor/faulty line and automatically reduce transmision speed.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Not exactly news, this has been obvious for years. I always turn everything off but my internet provider, Plusnet, claims turning the wifi hub off at night or when you're away slows the service down. That's the response they gave when I complained about their slow broadband.

Add new comment