Friday, Oct 24, 2014

Tackle the power phantom to become a smart electricity user

electricity-main “Phantom load” is that consumption of power which escapes your eyes but keeps ticking the metre nevertheless. It is the wastage which we call “standby”.
Written by Keshav Chaturvedi | New Delhi | Posted: August 11, 2014 5:24 pm | Updated: August 11, 2014 5:37 pm

These days electricity has entered the premium bracket, and even if you are ready to pay through your nose there is not enough to meet your demand. Power bills are soaring and consumers are trying hard to contain their power consumption. Still, the bills are creating gaping holes in their pockets.

So even when you have put your AC at a certain temperature and kept your light bulbs off, when not in the room, there is no major change in your monthly consumption. Ever thought what’s the reason? It’s called “phantom load”. Yes, you have a phantom (worse than an elephant) in your room.

What really is Phantom Load
“Phantom load” is that consumption of power which escapes your eyes but keeps ticking the metre nevertheless. It is the wastage which we call “standby”. In the office as well as our homes we shut down our computers and yet (especially in the office) we don’t take pains to extend our hand and switch off the power. This small oversight can increase the office electricity bill by 5 to 15 percent.

How it raises your monthly bill
So while the computer is technically off it is still drawing power. Same is the case with air conditioners. In many homes it is a standard practice to not touch the AC main switch. Similarly, we use the remote to stop the TV but in many cases fail to switch off the power.

Apart from this a casual survey of the house will reveal that many switches are on just for nothing. They keep draining electricity. According to a study in US roughly $4 billion are wasted yearly due to “phantom load”.

This is sheer wastage. In times when resident associations and power distribution companies are locked in a bitter battle to bring down power tariff, it is of equal importance that people start running a tight ship when it comes to the use of electricity.

Even your smartphones are adding to your electricity bill
We should also be careful while using our computers, tablets and mobile phones. Too much use of screen saver makes your comp an energy guzzler. Similarly, many programmes which have not been properly closed in your tablet (ipads and others) lead to a quick loss of battery power. The smart phones also guzzle battery energy if you are perpetually living in the cyber world. Charging them more frequently than necessary will not only increase your electricity consumption but also decrease the life of your battery.

The only solution
So instead of pining for or owning a smart phone, you become a smart user. Tackle the “phantom” in your room (both at home and in your office) and see the difference.

Keshav Chaturvedi is a media professional for the last 23 years. Recently the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s publication division brought out his book – Climate Change Negotiations: An Assessment.  He was also the content head of the renewable energy magazine Energy Next brought out by IREDA. Presently he writes for the Financial Chronicle (the financial paper of Deccan Chronicle) and is the consulting editor at http://www.greencommunications.in. He also maintains a regular blog on sustainable development issues http://indiadynamic.wordpress.com/

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