23% of your electricity bill comes from devices you’re not using

energy bills
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As of next month, it’s estimated that the use of so-called vampire devices will cost £3.3 billion a year.

Many items in our home use huge amounts of energy, including washing machines, dryers and fridges. However, most households are aware of these costs and only use the items when necessary. But, many of us neglect to pay attention to the small devices that are continually plugged in, such as phone chargers, televisions and microwaves.

Although these devices are often left on standby mode and appear to be switched off, they actually continue to use energy. For this reason, they’re known as ‘vampire devices’.

Why do these devices cost money?

Anything that remains plugged into a socket will use energy even if it is placed in standby mode. Common vampire devices include:

  • Desktop computers
  • Displays
  • Printers
  • Satellite boxes
  • Stereos
  • Televisions
  • Microwaves
  • Video game consoles
  • Phone and tablet chargers

In truth, these devices only use a very small amount of energy while plugged in. However, when numerous devices are left plugged in overnight, they can add vast amounts of money to your energy bills.

According to British Gas, the energy consumption of these devices adds up to 23% of our electricity bills. Across the UK, it’s believed that powering these devices costs a combined £2.2 billion. When the price cap rises in April, this figure will rise to £3.3 billion.

At a time when electricity bills are skyrocketing, taking steps to lower your energy consumption is vital. By October 2022, it’s predicted that the electrical element of a household’s energy bill could reach £800. If this proves to be the case, vampire devices alone could cost the average household more than £200 annually.

How can I stop these devices costing me money?

Thankfully, the steps you can take to stop these devices from costing you money are simple and straightforward. By flicking a switch, you could save hundreds of pounds a year. So,

  • When you turn off your television, make sure you unplug it at the wall
  • Install a smart meter so you can see exactly how much electricity you’re using at each time of the day and how much that electricity is costing you. Using this information, you can make changes to your consumption
  • Use extension leads for devices you usually leave plugged in overnight. By plugging your games console, TV and satellite box into the same extension lead, you can turn all three off by flicking one switch

Taking the above steps could save you a significant sum. After all, a Sky box that is left on standby all the time can cost you £73 annually, and each phone charger and TV that’s left plugged in can cost £10. As a result, the cost of vampire devices quickly adds up.

How else can I save money on my energy bills?

On 1 April, the new price cap will take effect. It will cause energy bills to rise by 54%. To help with this, the government recently announced a raft of measures that will ease the pressure on struggling households.

Sadly, besides the government help and following the recent advice from Martin Lewis, there’s very little that you can do at the moment to reduce your energy bills. At present, it’s still advised that you should avoid running an energy comparison and switching supplier. This is because the best energy deals from the country’s best energy suppliers cannot beat the current price cap.

If you’re struggling with your energy bills, then you should speak to your supplier in the first instance. If you’re still struggling, several support options are available.


Tom Brook

Tom is a freelance copywriter and content marketer with over seven years' experience. Originally from an agency background, he is proud to have worked on campaigns for a number of energy providers, comparison sites and consumer brands.