How charging your phone at night is costing you €40 a year
CONSUMERS are adding as much as €40 a year to their energy bills by charging their phones overnight and not unplugging TVs or broadband modems.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that sufficient energy to power the UK and Norway is being wasted every year as devices become increasingly connected to networks and left in standby mode so they are "ready for action".
The 'More Data, Less Energy – Making Network Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices' report says the amount of electricity wasted amounts to more than 400 terawatt hours (TWh) a year.
That's the equivalent power produced annually by 133 coal fired plants, which costs consumers almost €60bn a year.
Last year, there were 14 billion network-enabled devices in the world. By 2025, there could be 50 billion and energy to power them could amount to 6pc of global consumption.
"The proliferation of connected devices brings many benefits to the world, but right now the cost is far higher than it should be," said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven.
"Consumers are losing money in the form of wasted energy, which is leading to more costly power stations and more distribution infrastructure being built than we would otherwise need, not to mention the extra greenhouse gases.
"If we adopt best available technologies we can minimise the cost of meeting demand as the use and benefits of connected devices grows."
The report notes that among the biggest offenders are TV set-top boxes linked with networks, which record a favourite show when no one is at home.
In 2010, more than 160 million cable TV set-top boxes were "plugged in and ready for action" in the US alone.
"Despite being in standby mode, all of these boxes drew their full fill of electricity all the time, regardless of whether or not anyone was watching TV or recording a broadcast," it says.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) said electricity use in the home rose 22pc between 1990 and 2011. Despite appliances becoming more efficient, the sheer number being purchased fuelled demand.
Ownership of microwave ovens increased by more than 1,300pc between 1987 and 2010, computers by almost 1,200pc while the number of homes with two or more televisions increased by 363pc, head of information Tom Halpin said.
He added that the amount to be saved might seem small, but that it all added up.
The IEA said policy makers, software and hardware developers and manufacturers should work together to reduce energy demand. To achieve this, the agency has called for an international initiative to enhance standards as the issue is global.