Electricity Saving Box Scam Revealed

Electricity saving box or energy saving box or a.k.a power saver is a real scam. Many people became victim of this product. Advertisement said a 30-60% decrease in electric bill every month with matching demonstration that the current is actually become lesser when the electricity saving box is plugged in. Ordinary people (with no background in electrical or electronics engineering or related discipline) are surely convinced by their lies.

As an electrical/electronic engineer, practitioner and hobbyist let me tell you and share a little education how this advertised electricity savings box works and to reveal its great scam.

 

Helpful Terms:

 

Real Power – this is the true power each appliance consumes and this is the power considered by the electric utilities to charge to their customers.

Apparent Power – this is the total power including the power losses in the transmission lines or simply the power delivered by the electric utility.

Voltage (V) – this is the voltage coming out from the wall outlet

Current (I) – this is the current flow to the appliance or device once it is plug in to a wall outlet

Power Factor (PF) – this is the multiplier to the apparent power to get the real or true power

 

Let me do a little Math:

pic 1

 

How the Energy Companies Charge Us on our Usage

 

The electric distribution companies are charging us through real power we consumed, not with the apparent power. The real power our appliances consumed is following equation 2 above which is the product of voltage, current and the power factor. The electricity meter used by electric utilities is capable of detecting the voltage, current and power factor and able to compute for the real or true power consumption.

 

How Vendor Perform Demonstration on the Claimed Electricity Saving Box to Make People Believe Their Claim

 

Most of the times, the sales representative bring with him an electric fan and a multimeter. They use the multimeter to measure the current that drawn by the electric fan with and without the power saving box. Initially without the energy saving box, the current on the multimeter is high. The current measured once the energy saving box is plugged in is definitely lower than the initial current. Ordinary people are surely amazed and purchase one but they do not realize the savings as advertised!

Without the Electricity Saving Box plugged in, the current reading is high. Once they plugged in the box the current is much lower. They then concluded a big savings when using their product.


pic 2

 

pic 3

 

BUT WAIT…How they perform the demo? Are they showing evidence on actual power consumption with and without the box? What they did is only getting the current drawn by the appliance. They multiply the current to the voltage and claimed that this is the power consumed by the electric fan. This is not yet the real power consumed by the electric fan. The real power always includes the power factor on it as illustrated in equation 2 above.

 

Considering equation 2

pic 4

 

Actually, the real power is fixed. For instance, an electric fan is rated 100W. 100W means a real power.

Let me re-write above equation

 

pic 5

 

The real power is constant as well as the wall outlet voltage is fixed. Therefore, the above equation is only dependent to the power factor PF. The higher the power factor, the lower the current or the lower the power factor, the higher is the current. Without the energy saving box, the current will be high and it will be lower once the box is plugged in because the box itself is making the power factor higher.

On the demonstration, they are not emphasizing this. I don’t even think that these sales personnel know about power factor. They are not engineers or really skilled and knowledgeable on electricity related things.

You may challenge these persons to get a real power meter so that a real power will show. I am very sure that they don’t make it because they will be showing a constant real power drawn by the appliance.

Electric Companies are charging us by the real power we consumed. The real power is always composed of voltage, current and power factor not voltage and current only. If the current is high with a constant voltage, the real power will be the same since the power factor is low. If the current is low, do not be excited because the real power is still be the same since the power factor will be high.

 

Actual Experiment Conducted Proving that a Higher and a Lower Current will Result to the Same Real Power and Proving the Electricity Saving Box a Real Scam

 

Below table is an actual characterization results on a particular equipment power consumption (I am referring to the real or true power that will be read by the electric distribution company). I have three iterations wherein I changed the effectiveness of my power factor correction circuit or A.K.A. power saving device that we design for our products. The meter used here is Yokogawa WT310 digital power meter. The data in all columns are measured by Yokogawa WT310 digital power meter.

 

pic 6

 

The first trial has worst power factor, so it has the highest current reading. The second trial registered an improved power factor thus the current decreases. The third trial has the best power factor of almost unity (the best case for power factor is unity).



It has the lowest current. However, observe the power consumptions, the three trials all have the same power consumptions of around 275 Watts. By multiplying the voltage (yellow column) and current (blue column) will not give the real power but an apparent power. Energy saving box advertiser do consider only the input voltage and the current drawn because what their multi tester reads are only voltage and current but no power factor. They put to the minds of the customer or audiences that the power the electric company read is simply the product of the voltage and current but it is not. A clearly dishonest and misleading demonstration.

 

pic 7

 

The Reason Why an Energy Saving Box Don’t Live as Expected

 

Let us start by defining the operation of this claimed an energy saving box. It is simply a power factor correction circuit. A power factor correction circuit provides correction to the power factor so that the power delivered by the energy company is the same to the power that is actually consumed by the consumer. The ideal value of power factor is unity or 1. When the power factor is unity, this makes equation 1 and 2 equal. Majority of the consumer’s load are inductive in nature such as electric fan, aircon and washing machine to name a few. For inductive load, the power factor is always below 1. The claimed energy saver is actually a power factor correction that is most of the time a capacitive network to counteract the effect of naturally inductive load. As the power factor decreases, the current will increase. As the power factor increases, the current will decrease. However, the real power that is consumed by the equipment/appliance is the same. Real power cannot be measured by simply using a multi-meter as the advertiser did. Advertisers must use power factor meter to demonstrate the reality but I believe they will not make any move that will jeopardize their business.

 

The Real Function of a Claimed Power Saving Box

 

Energy saving box is actually a power factor correction circuit. It is a capacitive circuit to counter the effect of inductive loads (residential and industrial loads are mostly inductive in nature). It can be a passive or active solution. A passive solution is just a simple capacitive circuit and only effective for linear inductive circuits but with almost no effect on non-linear systems. On the other hand, active solution uses active devices or circuits to correct the circuit power factor. This is very effective for both linear and non-linear systems however very expensive and complicated.

Below is a waveform of voltage and current of an inductive circuit. As you can see, they are out of phase. The ideal case is for them to be in-phase. With this circuit, the apparent power will always larger than the real power. This is a disadvantage for electric companies since they are supplying more power than the customer actually consumed.

 

pic 8

 

When a passive power factor is included or installed, the current and voltage will become in phase as below waveform. When this happens, the apparent power and the real power will be equal (ideally unity power factor). This is very good for electric companies as they do not waste power.

 

pic 9

 

Below is the waveform of voltage and current of non-linear systems. Non linear systems include rectifier and switching converter. The shape of the voltage is intact (sinusoid) but the current is very distorted which emphasizes a very low power factor.

 

pic 10

 

Considering the same power drawn by the end users, the effective value of the current will be high thus results to higher losses in the transmission lines and a big loss in the part of the electric company. With a power factor correction circuit installed (particularly an active PFC), the current shape will be corrected and restore its sinusoid shape the same above.

 

Conclusion

 

Whatever the rated power of your appliances, this is the real power that the electric companies will be charging to you. The rated power or the real power drawn by your appliances is always composed of the voltage from the wall outlet, the current and the power factor. Advertisers and vendors are only considering the voltage and current while neglecting the power factor. Always remember, when current is high, the power factor is low that will result to a same real power. If the current is low, the power factor will be high which also result to the same real power. You can’t save by using energy saving box.

The use of electricity saving box does not give energy savings to consumers. Electric companies are the one directly benefited if residential use energy saving box. However, if all end users will use energy saving box, there will no extra fix losses on the transmission lines and the generation cost will be lower so residential do not shoulder it anymore. In this means, residential have savings (a very small savings) on the generation cost which is most of the times are on top of the actual energy consumptions. Do not buy the idea of saving up to 50% of the monthly bill using energy saving box because it is a scam and very dishonest claim.

30 thoughts on “Electricity Saving Box Scam Revealed

  1. This is true. Your savings will be, P=I.I.Resistance. Even when current I is reduced, the resistance in a short house wiring is less. So that your savings will be minimal even when your current, I is reduced . Your savings will be apparent only in a large installation such as in a factory.
    I am a factory electrical engineer, and I have installed capacitors electric motor terminals. Electricity savings is noticeable because power loss, I.I.R is reduced when current, I is decreased.
    My daughter once brought home from Manila a power saver gadget which is plugged only in a house outlet. We have tried using for a year, but, no power savings was noted.

    1. Yes, I agree with you that for a huge factory there is a a savings on the losses of the wires when a power factor circuit installed.

  2. This is true. Your savings will be, P=I.I.Resistance. Even when current I is reduced, the resistance in a short house wiring is less. So that your savings will be minimal even when your current, I is reduced . Your savings will be apparent only in a large installation such as in a factory.
    I am a factory electrical engineer, and I have installed capacitors electric motor terminals. Electricity savings is noticeable because power loss, I.I.R is reduced when current, I is decreased.
    My daughter once brought home from Manila a power saver gadget which is plugged only in a house outlet. We have tried using for a year, but, no power savings was noted.

    1. Yes, I agree that you can have a savings on the power loss due to resistance in a huge factory or building with long wiring. But with a small house, I doubt about it.

  3. Thank you for enlighten me on this electricity saving box. I actually order this gadget but, i cancel it right away, upon reading your explanation on the gadget scam. thank you again by saving P2k

  4. thank you for enlighten me on the electricity saving box and save me the P2k. salamat.

  5. I once bought a box called powermaxx in manila at handyman, I bought it for 1,500 pesos. After 1 month no change in my bill, after 2 and 3 months still no change(I was starting to regret my purchase), but on the succeeding months my bill dropped by 30%. Plus i dont get busted chargers anymore. I think that the saving is more noticeable when you are using motorized equipment and power hungry devices like selectric stove and oven, hot iron. Im still using it and my bill never exceeded the 1,600 pesos it used to be 2000-2300 pesos a month. Plus i get clean electricity. I learned in some forums that it’s only a capacitor and it cleans your power making it more efficient.

  6. Thank you for this review. Am I right that they only plugs the gadget? If it is, then I think its only an additional load to my electricity bill. However if the appliance will go through the gadget or we plugs our appliances to the gadget and it will do the magic then I might believe that it works but still I need to know how its system works if its really what it says that helps decrease your consumption. Coz I believe that we can make something to lessen the consumption’s but I don’t know if conversions will work. But anyways THANK YOU for this info.

  7. yes! thanks so much for the explanation. It enlightened me about the gadget. Its truly scam.

  8. Is there any electricity saving gadget/device in the market which is really work? Or none of them really working (just a scam)?

  9. even with a minimal energy savings due to power factor correction characteristics of this energy saving box,it is still a plus for the environment.the real energy savings is within us-we must save electricity to protect our environment and our children’s future.

  10. Thanks for the technical explanation. I was doubtful about this gadget from the beginning and of course didn’t buy it. I only wonder about all those enthusiastic user reviews, telling how less money they laid for the electricity. Are they all telling lies?

    1. I am not sure that all of them are telling the truth. Actually, this gadget is maybe helpful on the following:
      1. In a huge building that has very long wiring. Remember that this gadget is a power factor correction thus it will smothen the current therefore a lesser power dissipation due to the wire resistance. However, in a regular house, the saving due to the wire resistance is negligible. These advertisers should clarify the conditions when this device should have benefits. These advertisers are fooling people by saying they will save from their TVs, DVD/MP3 players electricfan and soon. These devices are having shorter wires only and not logical to have savings.

      2. This device will have effect on high power motors and other current hungry tools. However, being a plug and play device is not that effective enough to provide a very good power factor correction. Another thing is that specific application will require a specific power factor correction as well. Then you have this product that is claiming to be a universal powet factor correction…it is not the actual situation.

  11. I totally agree with you on the constancy of consumed power. Based on your analysis of the energy saving box as a capacitive circuit, it is still useful in reducing current consumption and heating effect on devices. Basically, I think power factor correction is a good thing. If you also consider a clime where power meters are low quality and poorly regulated, reducing current may actually reduce bills. This box might actually be useful after all.

    1. Yes, I agree that this device may have use on specific application but not as advertised as universal plug and play power saver. I explained this on my reply above.

  12. Just always keep in view that the % percentage always remains same. Either on high or low loads like, on 100$ you will save .30$ and on 300$ you will save .90$. The friend who wrote a very lengthy article above surely belongs to any electric supply company as he already admitted in para above the conclusion that it will give the loss to electric company. As you corrected the line loss of your home but the line losses are still there. Which the supply company is charging from you. Some times they also play game by reducing voltage so the current is increased by the appliances used by the consumers and they earn more money. Greedy and Cheaters. Earning money by cheating or misguiding others is bad and sin.

  13. voltage X current = Watt
    or
    P = V x I

    If the watts increased it means your bill increased and vice versa. When your appliances drawing less current, it will reduce your bill too.

  14. Good day sir.. do you have a review about this scalar energy sticker? I try to search it here if you have a post but no result.. They claim that it will save you 30% to 60% electric bill. I’m hopping that you make a review about it if you haven’t one yet.. Thank you…

  15. As the device saves bill where high power equipments are used, is it recommendable to use at places like factories, cinema halls, malls etc?

    1. The establishments you mentioned requires more powerfull design or product. A customized and designed specific power factor circuit will be needed, not just this plug ang play. I’ve been in the power electronics more than a decade and we design power factors corrections. No such PFC circuit that is universal to all. Well you can still use a working PFC to another circuit but dont expect the same performance.

  16. If you visit most of the blogs that advertise these products, you see testimonies from users who claim that the product works for them.
    As an engineer, are you willing to dismiss these claims as placebo effect? Remember it’s money we are discussing here, and I do believe a full grown adult should be able to tell when they are paying less than usual in a bill.
    Your theories are centered on the fact that electricity companies use the formular V x I x PF to calculate the power consumed.
    You did not consider that this might not be the case world over.
    What if in some countries, the power companies put the burden of power loses on ignorant consumers by charging them with Apparent Power (V x I), then this device will definitely cut their electricity bill significantly.
    Thanks for your effort though, much respect.
    But there are so many testimonies from my country that I would love to conduct my own experiment before I dismiss the product.

    1. ThomasAquinas,

      Thanks for your comments. My review here is based on the actual observations how the advertisers in our country did to convinced people to buy their products. These advertisers not even know what is power factor. For them, once the current decreases, the electric bill will then decrease. This is clearly a lie.

      In my comments above, I did agree that these power savers will have a help in some way in a huge building or factory with inductive loads. In a large building, wires are longer and thus the resistance are higher. If there is no power factor correction installed, the current is very nasty and this will generate loss of I square R. However, a sophisticated power saving device not just the plug and play one is needed to realize the savings. If these persons you mentioned really saved money from their bills in using this product, then it is good and they should start using it. You yourself as well you can try if these power savers are really effective.

      I don’t think if there is a country that charging electricity from the apparent power.

      You may proceed on conducting your own study regarding the product. There was already a published article in the newspaper in my country the study result of 4 kinds of power saving device. It was conducted by one of the largest electric utilities in the country. According to them, the alleged power saver none of them are reducing energy consumption but adds load based on the meter reading. This is the link: http://www.philstar.com/cebu-business/2013/10/30/1250952/veco-warns-public-against-power-saving-devices.

      Good luck on your own studies!

  17. HI,
    Thank you so much for sharing such a nice article. Its really help a lot.
    please keep sharing these types of articles in future as well. Thumbs up for a great work.

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