By Hasan Ali
LAHORE: People in the city are consuming electricity irrespective of the power crisis that has hit the country for a year now. Extra lights on high-rise buildings and restaurants are still lit up.
WAPDA has asked consumers to use energy-savers and switch off unnecessary lights, but a large number of people pay no attention to the authority’s outcry. The authority has, however, also failed to raise awareness on the home appliances, called ‘vampires’, that consume electricity even on standby mode.
‘Vampire’ concept: Electric home appliances that feature timers, clocks, memory and remote on and off switches consume power like ‘vampires’. Vampire power, also called standby power, phantom load, or leaking electricity, refers to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode. A very common ‘electricity vampire’ is a power adapter which has no power-off switch. While this consumption of power may be used to provide useful functions to users in appliances such as remote controls and digital clocks, most of the power consumed by non-operational devices is considered wasted. CNN quoted a study in October 2007 which revealed that about 5 percent of electricity in the US is consumed by electronic gadgets that run in standby mode. No such study has, however, been conducted in Pakistan yet.
Satellite receivers, VCRs, TVs, DVD players, computers, office equipment, water coolers, printers, scanners, fax machines and photocopiers keep consuming electricity even when they are not used.
Unnecessary lights: The people on average keep on four to five lights in every house during the night for security purposes. Nasir Ahmed, a resident, said that WAPDA should educate people about the ‘vampire’ concept and how electricity consumption could be decreased. “We at home don’t bother to completely switch off electrical appliances and keep them on standby mode because we never think they could consume so much electricity,” he said.
Ahmed said that the energy-savers, available in the market, were not up to the mark and they normally broke down in a few days.
Fouzia Nawaz, another resident, said that WAPDA had announced a conservation plan last year that asked consumers not to use electrical irons from 6pm to 10pm. “The plan also asked consumers to turn off unnecessary lights. There are, however, few chances to iron clothes because working men and women and students often have no time in the morning for such type of work,” she said. “WAPDA should explore new ways to generate more energy, rather than create problems for people.”