Standby power

Standby power is the energy used by an appliance when it is plugged in but not in operation.

Standby power can account for about 4% of your household electricity use* – that means that around 4% of your electricity costs may be going towards appliances doing nothing.

What appliances use standby power?

Appliances that typically use standby power at home include:

  • television and home entertainment systems
  • computer and office equipment
  • cordless telephones and fax machines
  • microwaves
  • battery chargers for portable devices (e.g. mobile phone chargers)
  • any appliance with a remote control
  • any appliance with an electronic clock built-in
  • plug-in transformers that power appliances.

Top tip

Remember, if it's plugged in and gets warm, it's using electricity.

How can I avoid using power in standby mode?

  • Ensure your appliances are not using standby power - when possible switch them off at the wall.
  • Use power boards with switches to make it easier to turn individual appliances off.
  • Use a remote controlled or automatic standby eliminator to take the time and effort out of turning your appliances on and off in hard to reach places like under desks and behind the television. Automatic standby power removers are also available in certain power boards with a master and slave socket arrangement. These power boards detect when your TV or computer is turned off and shut down power to connected peripherals (e.g. video game consoles, DVD players) so that no energy is wasted when the TV or computer is not turned on. Search for "standby powerboard" on the internet to find further information.

Compare and save

Choose energy efficient appliances when buying office equipment or home electronic products. Look for an Energy Star labelled appliance which is designed to minimise the power used in standby mode.


* Standby power percentage obtained from "Achieving early and affordable greenhouse gas reductions in Queensland".