Game consoles can drive up utility bills if left on

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Monday, August 24, 2009
— All that money homeowners have saved this summer by not running their air conditioners could be wasted if they’re leaving video game consoles turned on.

The biggest offender? The Sony PlayStation 3, which if left on around the clock consumes as much electricity each year as two new refrigerators, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.

Alliant Energy says owners of the 2007 version of PS3s can save $124 a year by turning the console off after each use.

“When you look at the amount of energy consumed, especially by the PS3, it’s mind blowing,” said Steve Schultz, an Alliant spokesman. “Turn it off when you’re done with it, and you’ll see considerable savings.

The NRDC said the 2007 Microsoft Xbox 360 isn’t much better when it comes to around-the-clock energy use. Left on all the time, it costs $103 to run, $31 less than the PS3.

The stingiest video game is the Nintendo Wii, which costs about $10 to power 24/7 or just $3 when not in use.

Schultz said televisions, DVD players, VCRs, computers and cell phone chargers can draw power when not in use. It’s prudent, he said, to turn them off when you can, but plugging and unplugging a plasma TV isn’t all that convenient.

With many other appliances, simply flipping the off switch cuts all power to the unit.

Many of the popular video game consoles are used for much more than video games. They’re also used to play movies, and the NRDC estimates that half of all owners leave their machines on all the time.

The organization is encouraging manufacturers to build sleep modes into the systems that will idle the systems after a specified period of inactivity. That will save energy and reduce utility bills, the council says.

Last updated: 11:05 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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