British Gas is advising consumers to turn off gaming consoles to save money

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Image: Nintendo Life / Damien McFerran

British Gas ruffled a few feathers today. In a report published by the BBC, the UK’s largest energy company has recommended that households should turn off what the company calls “vampire devices”. This isn’t a switched-on TV repeatedly showing one of the many Dracula movies, or even your Switch running the Castlevania Advance Collection 24 hours a day, but rather a device that continues to draw power even when it’s on standby mode.

The company has said that turning off these devices instead of putting them on standby could save an average UK household around £147 a year. According to British Gas research, it costs up to £12.17 a year to leave a games console on standby, while a computer or laptop with the same setting will set you back around £11.22.

British Gas’s research has drawn a number of criticisms from people, with the very first comment questioning the legitimacy of the numbers:

[The article] is shockingly inaccurate. A typical TV consumes 0.5-1 watts in standby mode or 2W when communicating with the Internet – even TVs from ten years ago. That’s £1.23 to £4.91 a year – a far cry from the advertised £24.61. That would be 10W.

Since 2013, a number of devices in the EU must not exceed 0.5W in standby or 1W if they have a display (e.g. microwave clock).

Another point of contention is the rather steep increase in the energy price cap from April 2022 in the UK, which has led to a rise in household energy bills. For many, it feels like British Gas is passing the buck, especially when you compare that the company’s profits rose 44% last year to £118m.

Eurogamer shared research from last year (updated today by the author) that said previous reports of vampire use were based on outdated measurements and devices, such as B. Laptops, which are vampire users, although they use this energy to actively charge the device. These figures, on which the British Gas report is based, are said to be 10 years out of date.

According to Nintendo, the Switch uses less energy than other game consoles currently on the market. In sleep mode, both the standard and OLED models consume between 0.3 and 0.5W of energy on average, compared to the PS5’s 3.7W in sleep mode and the Xbox Series S’ 0.5W in standby or 13 W in Instant On. So, at least, Nintendo Switch owners can rest a little easier.

You can read a summary of the report published by the BBC below, where you can also see Eurogamer’s own findings right next to it. British Gas is advising consumers to turn off gaming consoles to save money

Fry Electronics Team

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