Stand-by power is the power that electronic devices draw when they are on stand-by. The stand-by power is also known as phantom load or vampire power since the appliance is consuming electricity (unnoticed) when it is not actually operating. Usually, there would be a lamp on the appliance, which would be on to indicate this mode and the remote control unit (if any) would be operational.

TV sets, VCRs and DVD players are some of the many phantom loads in our households. For example, in stand-by mode, TV sets draw around 5 W whereas VCRs and DVD players draw about 3.6 and 3 watts, respectively. Taken individually, these phantom loads do not appear to be large sources of wastage such that some of us might not consider them important enough to be taken care of. However, by simple calculations, one can show that, over time, the total cost of the energy consumed by these phantom loads can become quite important. To convince yourself of this, consider the following example.

A TV set used for 4 hours daily and put on stand-by the rest of the time costs you the following:

 
Actual use
Stand-by
Number of kWh per year
146
37
Cost in rupees
480
122

The above figures thus tell us that stand-by power can cost as much as 25% of the energy actually used.
The table below gives typical stand-by powers of some common devices. The data is from CEB’s “Save Energy” guide.

Device
Stand-by power/W
VCR
3.6

DVD Player
3
Radio-alarm clock

2
Air-conditioner
1.5
Cordless phone
3
Mobile phone charger
0.5
Hi-fi stereo
3
Personal computer
3.2
Microwave oven
2.7
Television set
5
Inkjet printer
5

Below are a few more examples of the yearly savings you can make by not using the stand-by capability of devices:

Device
Savings in rupees
VCR
100
VCD/DVD player
85
Hi-Fi Stereo
72
Microwave oven
75