- A Whopper of an honor: Local company named top Burger King franchisee (11/15/17)3
- Southern Illinois farmer's grapevines destroyed by dicamba; four years of work lost (10/29/17)2
- Aldi store reopens after renovations (11/14/17)3
- Residents view pedestrian bridge as eyesore; city manager says it's designed to rust (11/13/17)8
- Decisions coming soon on steel mill, smelter in New Madrid (11/17/17)1
- Federal jury finds surgeon Fonn guilty of kickback scheme (11/10/17)4
- State audit: Bollinger County tax levies violate state law; county commission disagrees (11/17/17)3
- Cape native co-directs Thanksgiving-related indie film, 'Drinksgiving' (11/17/17)
- Son of Westboro Baptist Church patriarch discusses abuse, faith (11/15/17)6
- Scott City council hires former SEMO public safety director as city administrator (11/15/17)
Once upon a time, things that used electricity around the house had "on" and "off" buttons, and "off" meant no electricity was being consumed.
But today's appliances and gadgets aren't always "off" when they're "off." Instead, they are in "standby" mode. This is intended as a convenience. TV viewers want to watch their favorite programs as soon as they push the "on" button.
As pointed out in a story last Sunday, the most common household devices -- computer, TV, DVD player, microwave, telephone and security systems -- use about $80 a year even if they are never turned "on."
Many consumers who enjoy the benefits of modern conveniences are surprised to learn how much electricity is consumed by "off" appliances. Even some toasters these days are sucking energy unless they are unplugged. So is $80 a year -- or whatever amount the appliances in your house are costing -- worth it? For most of us, yes. We like having appliances that are ready to perform whenever we want them to. But with power companies like AmerenUE and the Jackson municipal power company raising rates, more consumers might start paying more attention to the hidden use of electricity.
And appliance makers might want to consider adding another button to the array of knobs on new gizmos: the "really off" button.