Web_power-saving-scamAbout cost of electrical gadgets which reduce the cost of standby power – this is a scam which was endorsed by Mr Baillieu. It’s about State Government getting a rebate from Federal for their contribution to reducing emissions. Mr Baillieu endorsed a manufacturer claim that each of these energy switch-off gadgets can save you and our state $200 per year or 10 per cent of average annual electricity bill. This is crazy. If electricity is $0.25/kWh then the claim is that you save 800kWh per year.

If you check modern audio visual equipment, you find that standby power is around 1W, so to make claimed savings, the gadget would need to switch power off for 800,000 hours. But there are only 8760 hours in a year. So for A/V device at 1 W, if switched off for whole year, you save 8.76kWh which is less than $2.25. If you look at other types of electrical equipment, even a continuously running modern fridge freezer is only 356kWh/year, as you can see at http://www.energyrating.gov.au/compare-products/. There’s no way these things can save $200/year. It’s a scam. Other than people being pestered with telephone sales calls for this gadget, others are pestered with door knocking sales people. It’s an easy sale because they’re “free”. Track record is now “The Embertec SmartSwitch™ standby power controller product is the market leader with almost 2 million currently installed in more than 700,000 homes around Australia”.

For this many, obviously somebody is paying big bucks. Of course it’s commercial in confidence but for cost of gadget and all the marketing, it could easily be $50 per unit. No problem if it’s saving all those kWh and tonnes of CO2 emissions but they don’t. A neighbour was recently hustled about using Embertec gadgets. The hustler was an escapee from financial crisis in Ireland. The neighbour felt sorry for him and accepted four of the gadgets, even though he explained that he’d accepted some on a previous occasion, now in a bottom drawer, which is where the new ones would go, because they switch off when you don’t want them to and don’t make savings claimed. The salesman explained that all the neighbour had to do was receive a phone call from the manufacturer, to validate that he’d received the gadgets, which he did, to help the poor refugee from Ireland. There are many similar stories about other people who have been sucked into this free scam. How gullible can our state politicians be to spend so much taxpayers’ money with this manufacturer and how gullible can federal politicians be for offering emission reduction rebate without checking that it actually works? Is it time for our politicians to be subjected to a NAPLAN test to determine whether or not they’re smart enough to make decisions about schemes like this?

Bernie McComb, Cowes.