Power Saving device scams – they don’t save electricity nor do they reduce your power bill

The local free magazine had the local PoolMart pushing a GO4GREEN EnergySmart device with promises that it will save you up to 10% on your power bills. I had hoped that after the Earthwise PowerSavers device promoted by A Current Affair (ACA) and Today Tonight in January 2011 was exposed as being unable to meet any of it’s claims that the sale of these devices would drop off but it seems there are plenty of people willing to hand over good money for snake oil.

A Current Affair removed their promotion of the device from their website soon afterwards they were presented with evidence it was a scam however by that time plenty of people had purchased the $895 box that promised power savings of up to 25% whereas Today Tonight has left it’s information on their website.

To understand why these devices don’t work you need to understand there are two ways that power is billed, Real power and Apparent power.

Real power

This is how households and small businesses (under ~$30K power spend per year) are billed and it’s based on the amount of  watts (W) consumed (true power).

Apparent power

This is how businesses (above ~$30K power spend per year) and factories are generally billed and it’s based on volt-amperes (VA) drawn.

Power Factor

Power factor is defined as Real Power divided by Apparent Power.

A circuit that consists of resistive loads such as incandescent/halogen bulbs, ovens and bar heaters will have a power factor of 1.0 whereas circuits containing inductive or capacitive elements such as electric motors and florescent ballasts which have a power factor of less then 1.0.

When these devices are being demonstrated they will usually use a wireless power meters that work by placing a clamp around the active conductor and measure Apparent Power not Real Power hence why when they demonstrate with an inductive load like an electric motor power “savings” are seen as the Power Factor is around .8 to .9. If the same test were performed by using an incandescent or halogen bulbs no saving will be seen as it’s Power Factor will be 1.0.

Essentially Power Factor is something that only matters if you are being billed for Apparent Power, these power saving devices are targeted at households where they make no difference to the size of the power bill and they are promoted through misleading methods including the use of wireless power meters that measure Apparent power.

This is a photo of the inside of a typical plug in power saver, they all work on the same principle which is a AC capacitor, a few components and a LED or two for looks (and to consume power so not only did you pay for something that doesn’t work it actually costs you money to have it plugged in). Cost to manufacture these devices would vary between $5 to $20 and they retail for $149 to over $1000, hence why so many people are willing to sell these as they are so profitable.

Devices

EnergySmart

The EnergySmart is being sold for between $149 and $299 by the following retailers; Poolmart Kenmore, iintegrate technology

Earthwise

Sells for $895 (installed up to $1500)

Promoted by A Current Affair (ACA) and Today Tonight (ACA took down their article soon after broadcast – Today Tonight left theirs online and added another segment covering it the next day)

Claims to also protect you from cancer (electromagnetic radiation) and has a reference from Panacea University (not recognised as a university).

Mark Maxwell said a number of times it’s capacitor based and works like a battery to save you power. All the excess electricity coming through is stored until required and it’s released, most of the devices use far too much power when they don’t need it and this capacitor based power saver stores a bit of that and this is where the power savings come from – video HIA Home Show Sydney 2011.

Other videos

Earthwise Power Savers featured on Today Tonight

Earthwise Power Savers Save Electricity Dirty Electricity = Harmful EMF and Facts (ok not real facts)

Earthwise Power Savers Saving Watt’s

Reegen Microplug

No longer for sale – Choice awarded this with their Shonky Award of 2009.

Claims to save up to 30% on your power bills – see presentation and video.

Enersonic Power Saver

Sold by Auscha Corporation – ACCC took them to court and they were ordered to stop selling – sell ACCC action below.

ACCC Action

The ACCC has taken action against a number of sellers of these devices, the most recent was action taken against Auscha Corporation Pty Ltd in July 2010 for it’s activities in 2008 and 2009 selling a power saving product. As you can see the ACCC is slow to act so don’t think that lack of action against any current sellers in any way legitimises their products.

  • the Power Saver was not capable of reducing the amount of electrical power consumed by domestic consumers as measured by retail electricity suppliers, and therefore domestic consumers could not save up to 24% on their electrical power consumption by using the Power Saver
  • use of the Power Saver could not lead to domestic consumers saving on their electrical power consumption as measured by retail electricity suppliers, and therefore domestic consumers could not save money by using the Power Saver, and
  • the Power Saver was not designed and engineered in Australia.

Read the full release at the ACCC website – Federal Court declares consumers misled over Power Saver device

Further Information

Power Factor Correction Scam Review

Do Energy Savers Really Work?

Energy Saving Gadgets – Do They Work?

Hurrah! Another power-saving doodad!

Power Saver scam brought to you by Today Tonight and ACA

Earthwise power saver – scam or what?

Energysmart Go4Green power saver – is this a scam?

Whirlpool Snake Oil Post

World Health Organisation – Electromagnetic fields (EMF)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a number of reports that debunk these devices are saving any money.

NIST Team Demystifies Utility of Power Factor Correction Devices

NIST Technical Note 1654 – Regarding Electric Energy Savings, Power Factors, and Carbon Footprints: A Primer

13 thoughts on “Power Saving device scams – they don’t save electricity nor do they reduce your power bill

  1. Pingback: The ACCC on Power Savers like Go 4 Green and Earthwise

  2. Alex.S

    Firstly,

    Earwise Power Savers was/is not part of any court case regarding Misleading information regarding our product.

    The fact that your posting an article in “matthewmcdonald.com” in which you have directly linked our company with a court case is not only fradulent but can also be prosecuted via legal channels.

    We have sold this device to thousands of customers, and we keep receiving testimonials from clients confirming the savings.

    Our Products have undergone several tests and are certified, maybe you need to actually test our product or talk to our happy customers before you slander Earthwise Power Savers.

    Earthwise Power Savers is not part of any court cass involving ACCC or The Department of Fair Trade.

    Any claims by any sites/blogs stating otherwise will liable for litigation in lieu of providing misleading slanderous information to the public.

  3. Post author

    Thank you for your post Alex.

    Nowhere have I linked Earthwise with the ACCC legal action, there is even a link to the ACCC site for further information.

    Selling these products and receiving testimonials means nothing, take a look at how many powerband owners posted positive testimonials and how many people wasted the money on these – Power Balance admits no reasonable basis for wristband claims, consumers offered refunds. I made it pretty clear in my post that these products do not work as claimed in a residential environment.

    The tests and certification mean nothing. BTW slander is spoken, libel is written and either way they both mean the same and both require the claims made to be false which they are not.

    I’m more then happy for you to post information here as to why your product works where other products do not, the technology behind all of these power saving devices is the same and as I have said does not work in a residential enviroment.

  4. keith

    Regarding Earthwise – I had a chat with the guy who says they did the independent test. I was not convinced, for starters the before period of install was in Summer and the after period was Winter, of course the power was going to be less in Queensland with aircon and pools… I asked for details of power for the same periods in the previous year – none provided. He then went into a hand wave about aligning electron spins and reducing impedance and hence loss on the wires – I was expecting to see a pig fly past my window. I have a PhD in a pure science; it won’t wash with me, you might as well have the CSIRO on your case.

    Then if one looks at the guarantee, it only guarantees to do a minimum of one of three things: reduce power, condition your power and something else – so they don’t actually commit in their guarantee that it will reduce the power – nice one!

    Also there is the old truth that if these things really did work – everyone would be selling them to meet demand and market forces would make them dirt cheap!

    So until Earthwise show scientific quality evidence that their product does what they don’t even guarantee – I would not touch it. Save your money and buy some curtain lining instead if you want to save money over the longer term.

    BTW see my article for a high level ‘how to detect a power saver scam’ – I don’t go into the true/apparent phase analysis – that would go right over most peoples heads, just stick to simple facts.

    Basically I’m of a mind that the law needs changing to make it illegal to sell such products without validated proof of performance and if you do all profits gained can be forfeit. Also I really dislike the green wash used with this.

  5. JO HILL

    E & O E

    WARNING !!!

    EARTHWISE POWER SAVERS, GEOFF HORRID GAN, HIS FAMILY: SON JOSH, THE MANAGEMENT, ARE SHONKY.
    # VERY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE BY NOT RETURNING CALLS, NOT ATTENDING TO MESSAGES; SAYING NO EMAIL, LETTERS OR COPIES OF ELECTRICITY BILLS RECEIVED FROM CUSTOMERS; NOT INVESTIGATING FAULTY EQUIPMENT;
    # LIES BY PROMISING CUSTOMERS A THREE YEAR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE & RENEGING ON THAT PROMISE;
    # OWES HIS FORMER NSW MANAGER MARK & HIS SALES REPS MONEY.

    WHAT ARE CHANNEL 7 TODAY TONIGHT, ACCC, DEPT IF FAIR TRADING, STATE & FEDERAL POLICE, ETC DOING ABOUT THESE FRAUDSTERS???

    WARNING !!!

  6. Mandy jenas

    Scamming bastards, $1500 for a empty box that saves sweet all on power lock Save my Power or do my solar what ever they are called owners up they should be in JAIL !!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Simon

    What a con job, quick talking salesman selling these Earth Wisepower savers, had a over the top solar system quoted by Do My Dolar $16000 for a 2kw system lol told them to leave, called back a few days later sorry there had been a mistake with the quote on the system 🙂 REALLY same thing happened to my mate around the corner. These guys must think I came down in the last shower !!!!! Maybe you are interested in our new power saver $1500 and saves 35% of your power bill ( yer right ) where is the our protection from these types of businesses ? How many old uneducated people would be fooled ? Have a quick google they are selling nothing but over priced solar and a power saver that has no effect AT ALL on saving power.

  8. Tom

    Buyer beware Earth Wise power saver for 1 did not save me 1 red cent and now my energy provider has removed it from the meter box as he said is it illegal to install as it is installed before the meter and that is not my property. He than went on to tell me that they have reported Save My Power connected to DO My Solar to the accc as these products are illegal and a scam his words were we will have Save my power shut down. Save your money folks just another rip of business trying to make a quick buck.

  9. Jill

    Save My Power, Another new company by Brendan Twist, was once the Director of Do my solar which if any one try’s to call is no longer in business. When will some one stop these scamming bustards from ripping off poor people. My dad got scammed from them and so did a lot of other people in our small community.

    One thing is for sure you won’t get us again Brendan Twist.

  10. Jerick Calderon

    The best way to test the energy saving efficiency of a power saver is by using a digital watt meter. If you want to see how a power saver should be presented, please log-on to youtube and type the word Electrimizer or you can also try following this link: http://youtu.be/MnfLsTGALrI

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