A study of 2,000 adults found most households (86 per cent) are guilty of leaving an average of eight items on standby at any one time – with TVs, microwaves and washing machines being among the biggest offenders.
This is costing an extra £20 a year, or £513,766,000 across all UK households, which generates more carbon emissions than two million return flights from London to Spain.
Worryingly, four in 10 have no idea that an electrical item continues to draw energy from the mains if it’s not turned off at the socket.
According to Smart PAYG energy experts, Utilita, games consoles are one of the biggest energy drainers with 13 per cent of households claiming to leave theirs on.
In fact, one of the latest games consoles costs around £38 a year if left in ‘sleep mode’ which enables the user to voice activate it.
The typical coffee machine racks up £5.60 a year while waiting to be used and the washing machine sets households back by £2.60 a year if left on between washes.
The biggest barrier to switching items off at the mains is poor access to plugs, according to those polled via OnePoll, with 29 per cent saying they would just leave them on, or in standby mode, if they are unable to reach the plug easily.
It also emerged almost a third (29 per cent) of households admit to leaving items on standby without using them for longer than a year.
Archie Lasseter, head of sustainability at Utilita Energy, which commissioned the research, said: “Even if an item doesn’t appear to be on, if it is plugged in and the socket is switched on, it could still be using energy.
“We call this vampire energy – silently sucking out power without households noticing.
“In recent years millions of households have switched their oven for an