Homeowner’s stark warning about standby cost of two electrical appliances

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With bills set to rise for many households this year, people are concerned about saving money where they can. In fact, just this week, finance expert Martin Lewis warned that people should consider fixing their gas and electricity bills at double their current rates amid predictions of average household bills hitting £5,000 a year by January – up from just £1,200 per year as recently as 2021.

As a result, one savvy homeowner decided to buy himself an electricity usage meter, Yorkshire Live reports. The device plugs into any wall and measures how much power and therefore, money, any given device in the home is using, even on standby.

He soon discovered two appliances in particular were adding a huge amount to his bills. Posting on the UKPersonalFinance subreddit, the poster said: “Present cost is based on the Octopus caped rate of 29.58p per kwh. Projected cost assumes a 70% increase in October although it looks like it will be higher than this.”

He discovered phone chargers actually cost very little, even plugged in, while “older appliances” cost a lot to run. Leaving an Apple phone charger plugged into the wall will cost nothing at all, with the plug successfully turning off its power draw when not in use.

A microwave, however, cost an estimated £27 a year just to display the clock, while a Sky Q TV box on standby costs £48.46 on standby on October’s cost projections, or £60.79 to run while recording, averaged out for a year.

Another high cost was the Virgin Media wifi router, at £31.09 per year now or £52.86 on October price projections.

He said: “Contrary to belief, leaving a phone charger plugged in will not end up killing penguins in the Antarctic.

“It’s worth checking your older appliances, for me the microwave was an eye opener. I’m paying £16 (soon to be £27) a year just to have the thing display “00:00” at me all the time. It’s now switched off at the wall when not in use.

“Sky TV… I didn’t expect over 9 watts when it’s sitting there doing absolutely nothing. Both boxes are in ‘eco mode’.

“I’m considering having my broadband router and ethernet switch on a timer. A timer costs around £7 and would pay for itself in just over a month if it switched them off for 8 hours a day. I may also do this with the Sky boxes.”

Recently Ofgem has advised that it will change the way it calculates things and increase the price cap every 3 months instead of every 6. This means regular price rises are going to become more commonplace still as the effects of Brexit, Covid and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine continue to keep wholesale energy costs high (despite record profits from energy firms like BP and Shell).

The latest predictions suggest the energy price cap will rise by a staggering 81 per cent in October, which will take a typical bill to £3,582 a year.

A further rise of 19 per cent is expected in January with average household bills set to increase to £5,038 in January. It would mean a monthly energy bill would now set you back £571 every month for an average household’s energy use.

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