Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Warning Against Energy Saving Devices

If you haven't heard yet about Energy Saving Device (ESD), it refers to the small 'black box' aimed at reducing domestic power consumption. Marketers claim that such devices can save 20% to 40% of energy resulting in lower electricity bill.

Does it really work, or is energy saving a mere myth?

If you are referring to domestic households my answer is NO! It doesn't work. At least not as per what's advertised. Equipment, machines, gadgets, black box, or whatever they may call it and sold as ESDs had capacitors, which improved the power factor (PF) and reduced the electrical current flow. But the electricity bill will be based on how much power was consumed.

The PF is the ratio between the power required to run a machine compared with the power originating from the utility supply, e.g., TNB, SESB, Sesco. The slight drop in current flow shown in the device often lead the public to think that it equates to a lower electricity bill.

What it does is:

1) improve the power factor,
2) lower the current (normally starting current) flow slightly for a moment depending on the size of the load in relation to the capacitor in the ESD.

As a domestic consumer, you are not significantly affected by both of the above. You do not need to improve your power factor at home as the utility company will not penalise you for lower PF. For the record, TNB requires that all (only) industrial consumers maintain PF at their premises at 0.85 or above.

At the most, you would probably save 1% to 3% but definitely not 40% as claimed by some ESD marketers. Energy saving devices are known to have been sold for around RM200 to RM400, depending on its usage capacity. However, there are also version that are sold at RM1,000 or above.

I have one at home

Out of curiousity, and wanting to find out what's inside the small black box, I purchase a certain ESD for RM250 not too long ago. I don't support such claim, and I didn't expect to save from this but I just need to get the 'feel' of it and to see how the gadget would look.

I will share the picture, here later.

Read the rest of the news piece from Bernama
'Consumers warned against Energy Saving devices'

KEPALA BATAS, April 17 (Bernama) -- Energy Commission Regional Head for Penang, Kedah and Perlis, Ir Md Zakuan Ibrahim has advised the public not to buy energy saving devices which promise to save power consumption by 40 per cent.

The devices which have been sold widely recently, do not live up to its claims and the commission has also retracted its recommendation on the device three months ago.

"The recommendation issued by the Energy Commission is only in regards to safety, not in terms of reducing power consumption. The device confuses consumers as it only allows savings of between one to five per cent, and not 40 per cent," he told reporters after a programme with Penang community leaders.

He said the device, which has been in the market for 10 years, is not a controlled item under the Energy Commission and has no specific legal provision should consumers be cheated.

However, Md Zakuan said the Energy Commission can take legal action through the Consumer Protection Act under the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (MDTCC).

So, they are all big fat liars?

I would say not totally.

There are also those that are specifically manufactured for large industrial applications. Of course, in this case, the design is more complex and are suited for specific energy reduction objectives. Industrial applications are more of a solution package, where they are offered as a system rather than a single small 'magic' gadget.

They can be in the form of inverters, power factor capacitor banks, etc., to cater for different purposes related to energy saving. This should not be mistaken for the domestic applications where saving generated is not documented.

For further readings, see what Datuk Peter Chin (Malaysian Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water) posted in his blog about ESDs.


Gunaqz said...

I'm glad you wrote about this, Floyd. Someone suggested to my brother not long ago to get that thing after he whined about the elct bills at home. Di rumah family kami di kg, bukan byk pun barang eletrik. Way lesser than rumah org yang ada keluarga besar. Yang tinggal sana pun cuma dua org jak. Tapi bila bil sampai... nahh uii, mau sampai $200 bah tiap bulan. Padahal fridge saja yang on sepanjang masa.

He was considering to buy the thing people claim to reduce elct consumption... But now I know mahal lagi harga dia dari penjimatan, bagus x payah.

Thanks for sharing kio.

tehr said...

Kawan aku ada yang beli benda ni tahun lepas
Katanya boleh jimat
Tapi ia gagal menarik minat aku untuk turut sama membelinya

Ntah laa...

Anonymous said...

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Just for air -con it real with new teachnology,