Standby power—electronics

Many electronic devices use electricity even when they are not in use. They need power to run clocks, timers, remote controls, network access and other functions.

This low-level power consumption occurs in “standby mode,” also known as “sleep mode” or “low-power mode.”

Although most devices consume only a small amount of electricity in standby mode, Canadians use more of these items than they used to.

As well, some products, such as set-top boxes (cable, satellite or IP), operate at close to full power at all times, in order to allow communications from the service provider.

Standby power consumption can account for 5 to 10 percent of a household’s electricity bill.

Follow these tips to reduce standby power consumption.

Energy Star logo

Look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol.
ENERGY STAR qualified electronics must consume no more than one watt in standby mode. Qualified set-top boxes (cable, satellite or IP) provided by an ENERGY STAR service provider have additional energy savings features that will help you save energy while still enjoying quality service.

Unplug little used products
Disconnect guest TVs from electricity outlets. Turn game consoles off when not in use.

Give your energy bill a vacation.
Unplug everything when you are away for extended periods of time. Why pay for extra watts when you’re not at home?

Use an advanced power bar.
Advanced power bars can help save electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some power bars can be put on timers to cut the power at a set time. Other “smart” power bars have a master plug socket and slave plug sockets. Plug the TV into the master socket and plug other devices such as DVD players and video game systems into the slave sockets. When you turn off the TV, the smart power bar cuts power to the devices plugged into the slave sockets, automatically saving energy and reducing your electricity costs.


The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.