Recent testing commissioned by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) on a selection of plug-in energy saving devices has shown that not only were manufacturers’ energy saving claims unjustified, but also the products contained dangerous electrical safety failures.
The ESC’s safety and performance tests were carried out in an independent laboratory against general safety standards
The manufacturers claim that these devices offer an energy saving or reduction in electricity costs of up to 35%. To test performance, the power consumption of a typical domestic television was measured with and without the energy saving device connected. None of the products showed an energy saving.
Additionally, none of the products passed the safety assessment with problems found, including accessible live parts, absence of an internal fuse protection, supplied with a substandard UK fitted plug, and insufficient resistance to heat and fire.
Although not necessarily an indication of a safety hazard, none of the samples had adequate safety marking, with three of them missing the CE-markingii, which suggests that EU and corresponding UK safety laws are either blatantly not being applied or are being misunderstood.
Martyn Allen, Head of Technical Development at the ESC said:
“The idea of a ‘plug and go’ device that will save money on electricity bills is likely to appeal to people, given the continuing and well publicised rise in energy prices. These devices are appearing with increasing regularity and are widely available online.
While it is cause for concern that these products do not deliver the energy savings claimed by manufacturers, the electrical safety failures are extremely worrying. At best they are a waste of money. At worst they could cause serious injury. We have been liaising with Trading Standards so that appropriate enforcement action can be taken”.
The Trading Standards Institute's consumer and product safety lead officer Christine Heemskerk said:
"We welcome the recent testing carried out by the ESC on these 'electricity saving devices' - it complements and supports work already carried out by trading standards in this area, and clearly more awareness needs to be raised about these devices.
"We are urging consumers not to use these products as tests have shown that not only they do not deliver tangible energy savings, they also can pose a fire and electrocution risk.