British Gas Advises Consumers To Turn Off Games Consoles To Save Money

Image: Nintendo Life / Damien McFerran

British Gas has ruffled a few feathers today. In a report published by the BBC, the UK’s biggest energy company has recommended that households should switch off what the company has dubbed “vampire devices”. That’s not a switched-on TV showing one of the many Dracula films on repeat, or even your Switch running the Castlevania Advance Collection 24-hours a day, but rather a device that still consumes power even then they are on standby.

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

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

[The article] is woefully inaccurate. A typical TV uses 0.5-1 watt in standby or 2w if communicating to the internet – even TVs from a decade ago. That’s £1.23-£4.91 per year – far from the quoted £24.61. That would be 10w.

Since 2013 a range of devices in the EU can’t exceed 0.5w in standby, or 1w if it has a display (eg. microwave clock).

Another point of issue is the rather steep increase in the energy price cap from April 2022 in the UK, which has seen household energy bills increase. This, to many, feels like British Gas is passing the buck a bit, especially when you compare that the company’s profits rose by 44% to £118 million last year.

Eurogamer shared research from last year (which has been updated today by the author) that says previous reports on vampire usage were based on outdated measurements and devices, such as laptops being vampire users despite using that energy to actively charge the device. These figures that British Gas’ report is based on are reportedly 10-years out of date.

According to Nintendo’s own figures, the Switch consumes less energy than other games consoles currently on the market. In Sleep Mode, both the standard and the OLED model consume on average between 0.3 and 0.5W of energy, compared to the PS5‘s 3.7W in Rest Mode and the Xbox Series S‘ 0.5W in Standby, or 13W in Instant-On. So Nintendo Switch owners can rest a bit easier, at the very least.

You can read a summary of the report, published by the BBC, below, where you can also check out Eurogamer’s own findings right next to it.

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