Vampire appliances: the electronics sucking your wallet dry | Energy bills

Name: Vampire appliances.

Age: There are old ones, and less old ones.

Appearance: Again, it varies. Some are slim and pale, others boxy. Some of them glow, others flash at you …

Sounds scary. You should be scared – they’re in your house.

Whereabouts in my house? The living room, the kitchen, home office, your bedroom …

And what do they do? They suck your power. At night, mostly.

Vampires! But … [pulling a crucifix and a clove of garlic from pocket] … I have these, ha! No use against this kind of vampire, because these are vampire appliances.

Vampire appliances? They suck your electricity, and your cash, as you sleep. Did you know that a phone charger uses power even when it’s not actually charging a phone?

That’s rude. It contains a transformer, which uses a very small amount of power. A printer, not printing but just on standby, does too. The TV uses power if not switched off at the mains. Your Sky box can use 30W / hour, which works out at about £ 73 a year.

Count Murdoch, I knew he was one! And that’s at today’s prices. If you got the same letter I just got about price increases, that’s going to work out… [does quick mental calculation] … at about a billion pounds a year.

No, seriously, how much are we talking? Well, it might not be a lot per device, but over time they all add up. A recent study by British Gas estimated that as much as 23% of our electrical usage can be put down to so-called vampire energy, which means a national cost of around £ 2.2bn.

What’s the answer – bang a wooden stake through the Sky box? Or just switch it off at the wall. Likewise the telly, the games console, the thing that music comes out of, anything with a light on. And pull the chargers from their sockets.

Funny, cos my grandma used to go round the house before going to bed every night, switching everything off at the wall because she thought the electricity would drip out of the sockets. In a way, she was right. Certainly ahead of her time.

Where’s Buffy when you need her? Actually, there are consultants who specialize in saving people from nocturnal life-suckers in their homes. Possibly not worth a TV series though.

Do say: “Yes, at the wall, it all adds up.”

Don’t say (with apologies to Bram Stoker): “There are darknesses in life and there are LED lights.”

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