Power saving scams
1:30am 24th August 2011
Power saving devices are often too good to be true and found to be scams that end up costing the Earth; be warned!
Power Saving Devices Scams
Currently in Australia there are a few devices doing the rounds claiming to be able to do the following:
- Reduce your electricity bills by up to 30% or more;
- 'Clean' the electricity so thereby increasing the life of your electrical devices;
- Align the electrons in the wire so impedance is reduced which reduces resistance and therefore power consumed;
- Reducing your power usage is good for the environment and reduces Co2 emissions - so its Green and good for the Earth!!!
: this is a world way from the more traditional power savers devices that provide remote on/off control of one or more devices. The power saver devices I'm referring to plug either into the wall or are hard wired into the distribution board and effect all the power around your house.
Why the power savers don't work
Simply put, wiring any device in parallel with the rest of the supply in your house can only do one of two things:
- Take power out of the circuit its connected to, or,
- Put power back into the circuit its connected to, which it previously took out.
So where does that energy come from? Yes, you have guessed it from the same way all the energy that gets into your house does - via the meter! And, yes, the meter measures power consumed, so any 'trading' around of energy done beyond the meter is not going to make any real difference in the residential context to energy consumed, its already been counted and charged.
Now, if the device was wired in series; i.e. all the power has to go through it to reach the devices on the other end - I might consider it, as you in effect do a total reconditioning of the mains supply on the way through. This is what most good universal power supplies (UPS, battery back up) usually do anyways. Although, due to circuit efficiency loss and upfront cost - you will pay for this reconditioning, so wiping out any saving that might possibly ever be made at the meter.
Although, there is a class of electrical device that is often wired in parallel with a mains device and thats a 'back EMF suppressor' basically a special component whose job it is to remove 'noise spikes' coming back down the wire from a motor. This is the noise you hear on a radio when you run an electric drill close by; or the interference you get on AM in your car when you go into a weak reception area (its the coil firing). if this isn't done, sensitive devices, like computers can crash - although most modern computers have power supplies in them that are quite effective at removing this noise anyways.
How to determine it it really is a scam?
First off ask for details of independently run evaluations of the technology. Then read the report in detail and make really sure they haven't just 'rigged' the results.. For instance one report I read had the energy consumption readings for 3 properties in Summer (with Air cons and pools) then installed their magic device and took the energy consumption figures for the following Winter and claimed up to 30% saving - er Hello! - a property in Queensland will use less power in Winter than Summer, its just not so warm and not actually cold!
The next fun thing to do is to try to get them to actually explain how it works; if they come back claiming things to do with Electron spin and Surface drag, or reduced impedance - its rubbish.
Next, I suggest you go onto a search engine and enter the name of the product followed by the word 'scam' - if you see a lot of hits - chances are it is
What do I do if I think its a scam?
Certainly do not buy the product! We strongly suggest you report them to ACCC
; which has 'form' in tracking such businesses down and throwing the book at them. Also I suggest you write to your local MP to suggest having the law changed that such devices can only be sold and approved for connection to the mains after
a positive result from a truly independent body like the CSIRO, and make selling such devices without approval criminal, complete with full profit recovery powers.
Given the current increases in the cost of electricity we are all facing, such scams need to be routed out and closed down in quick order.