As you can from my post on 15th March, I have been thinking about electricity and the tariff I’m on a lot. So I wrote this letter to Green Homes Concierge in order to check that what I was doing was ‘right’. Here’s what I asked: –

Hi ya

I am writing to ask you about using electricity.

I have economy 7 at the flat I live in.

Thus to charge mobiles, do a load of washing etc. I plug a timer into the relevant socket and set it to be on during economy 7 hours.

In my mind, this means that the timer is on during non eco 7 hours for the timer to operate but the item plugged into the charger does not work until it is set to i.e. during eco 7 hours.

Am I right in thinking that the cost of the timer being on is minimal compared to doing a load of washing or charging a phone, for example?



Natalie replied: –

Hi Heena,

Thanks for your query.

Exactly – you are correct to assume that the timer only uses a minimal amount of electricity, and is therefore a cost-effective way of charging your equipment and doing the washing. Such activities use a comparatively high amount of energy, whereas the timer will use a much smaller amount during the daytime tariff.

An inventive way to make the most of the economy 7 tariff without having to be awake in the middle of the night!

Hope this makes sense and answers your question.

Thanks and regards,


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Sugar · July 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Vampire power is a growing problem. We charge our phone or camera and laptops, then leave the adapter plugged into the wall. If you touch the charger that is plugged in, it is hot meaning it is still drawing current. We leave our TV and toaster and stereo and DVD player plugged in all day, and they draw power. Some night leave the light out in your house and walk room to room and see all the vampire eves, appliance lights , looking at you.
They are all wasting power. Add it up and it might only be $100 a year per house but multiply that times 50,000,000 and we could save so much power it is unbelievable.

    Heena Modi · July 18, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing what you know. I must get a response from Green Homes about this. I’ll keep you informed 🙂

Ben Green Homes · July 21, 2009 at 3:27 pm

As requested:

Firstly, it is safe to say that most modern day chargers use next to no power when left plugged in. Removing your charger every night for a year is roughly equivalent to the energy used up in a single hot bath! This is demonstrated nicely by David Mackay in the attached link –

However, many other devices are becoming much more energy intensive- and there are a lot more of them, so in this respect your poster is right. The increased use of Plasma TVs and Digital radios are prime examples of these.

A good way to start to understand energy use in the house is to invest in an Energy Monitor. The OWL is a good example (

These attach to your energy supply and broadcast a signal to a display that shows energy use in kWh or Pounds per hour. They cost anything between £30- £100 and once installed you can have great fun turning everything off in the house and then seeing which equipment draws the most energy.

Not surprisingly this is one of the best ways to reduce energy use as it turns it into something interactive. It certainly worked wonders on my parents!

I hope this helps.

Green Homes Concierge Service

    Heena Modi · July 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks Ben 🙂

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