That’s how much the unnoticed power guzzler costs

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Von: Stella Henrich

A charger that is constantly plugged into the outlet is like a dripping faucet. Because even if no mobile phone or power bank is connected to it, the power supply consumes electricity.

Hamburg ‒ A smartphone with a low power indicator quickly becomes a stress factor. As soon as the message “Energy warning – connect your charger” pops up, it’s high time. People then often wring their hands in search of the charger, which at best is always in the same place in the home or at work. The right end of the cable is quickly connected to the device and the bar on the display rises again.

And the cell phone is not the only electronic device that consumers have to charge regularly. Tablets, power banks, sound speakers and fitness watches also have to be connected to the mains again and again. That’s why the many charging cables often remain in the socket for sheer convenience. But is that actually a good idea given the current energy crisis and high electricity prices? Because chargers naturally also consume electricity when they are connected to the mains and no device is connected, as reported by

Convenience costs consumers hard cash: the charger eats up electricity even when no devices are connected. (Iconic image) © Michael Bihlmayer/imago

Energy-guzzling mobile phone cables: chargers consume electricity when there is no device connected to the cable

Power supplies are “undiscovered power guzzlers in households,” warns energy expert Martin Brandis from the Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian Consumer Advice Center. Because if the charger is always plugged in, it will continue to use electricity. The reason is a transformer in the device itself, which ensures that the 230 volts that flow from the power socket are converted to the required level. Consumers notice this primarily because the charger feels uncomfortably hot.

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External power supplies that have been on the market since April 1, 2020 may be noisy EU Ecodesign Regulation 2019/1782 not without a load more than 0.10 watts of power to record. The costs of these devices are therefore low. “A power supply unit that complies with this limit consumes 0.876 kilowatt hours of electricity over a year of uninterrupted no load, with electricity costs of less than 50 cents,” Martin Brandis calculates for the online portal before. Older power supplies and chargers, but also devices from non-EU countries, could lead to significantly higher losses, according to the energy expert.

Energy-guzzling charging cable: Enormous CO₂ savings potential

Consumers should bear in mind that many chargers are usually connected to the power grid in their own four walls at home. Not only the mobile phone, but also the tablet, the numerous power banks and the fitness watch suck juice from the socket. In the end, it can definitely pay off to unplug the cables when they are not needed. The Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall speaks of an annual savings potential of around 82,450 tons of CO₂, when consumers in Germany pull the cable out of the socket and the mobile phone after charging.

Consumers should also check whether it might be worthwhile for them to take other power guzzlers off the grid. Some Appliances in the household can be switched off at night without hesitation. Upgrading to a new model can also be worthwhile. Because one charger that is suitable for several devices saves money and time. And also helps to avoid electronic waste, which is why the EU from 2024 also uniform standards for charging sockets already decided hat.

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