Power Saver scam brought to you by Today Tonight and ACA

Today Tonight and A Current Affair both ran stories on 'Power Saver' devices at the end of January. Proponents claim that these devices will save up to 40% off residential electricity bills.

The problem is, these devices are scams. They will do nothing for your high electricity bill. They will just line the pockets of the likes of Earthwise Power Savers Pty Ltd who is behind the product featured on Today Tonight.

ACA has since removed all links from its website for the device that they promoted. For some reason the Today Tonight one is still on-line.

What are these 'dirty electricity' power savers?

As put by serial commentator on these scams, Dan of dansdata.com, puts it like this:

There are many, many "power saver" products on the market. Most are little plug-in things, but there are also versions like the Oz Power Saver that are hard-wired in the breaker box.

They should not be confused with plug-in standby power eliminators or power meters (both of which actually do help you save power).

What do they claim to do?

The sales pitch is about cleaning up your power. The Earthwise site talks extensively about 'dirty electricity' to convince readers of the need for their device and to 'demonstrate' that it actually does something useful.

On Today Tonight, they came across surprisingly well. This is because most of the time they were not actually telling fibs:

It's a power factor correction unit. - Geoff Hourigan

It reduces the current. - Greg Paxton

And herein lies the problem. The business owner says it himself, it is a power factor correction unit.

Power factor correction does not reduce residential electricity bills

Residential customers, and most small businesses up to about $30,000 per annum in spend, do not pay for poor power factor. So, even if this device does correct power factor, it will not change your bill.

Power factor correction will reduce your apparent power consumption. It does not affect real power (what you are billed for).

Don't get me wrong: power factor is real. For large consumers (such as office buildings and heavy industry), power factor correction will often cut a component of the bill. These sites pay for their peak power consumption in kilovolt amperes (kVA) as well as their real power consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh).

Have a look at your bill. If you do not pay for peak demand in kVA you will not benefit from power factor correction.

So at one level the story is actually true, and this is what makes the scam so compelling. Even as an engineer who has worked in this area for several years, the Today Tonight story didn't actually reek "scam" as much as I thought it would.

A quick phone call to any respected electrical engineer (or one of the network power companies) would have set the reporter straight.

It is a disgrace that Today Tonight and ACA air this material. Energy consumption is a confusing topic which most find hard to grasp.

Now, many people will end up paying a shonky company over $1,000 to install something that does not work.

UPDATE - 2013 and beyond

The company discussed above re-appeared in 2012 as "Save My Power." In 2013 the company behind it all listed for insolvency.

By Ryan McCarthy |

Know someone who might be interested?
Share this article:

next post →

Got a Question?

stop sign

Please see our FAQ, delivery, pricing, and product pages for commonly asked questions and answers.

About Reduction Revolution

Reduction Revolution is a business focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. Our products will help slash your energy usage. But they also often improve comfort, save time, and reduce your maintenance costs. That's why we say waste less, live better.

Australia New Zealand Map

Reduction Revolution Pty Ltd is an Australian owned and operated business (ABN 74 141 672 764).

Since 2010 we have supplied tens of thousands of customers across Australia & NZ.

Click the links below to find out more:

About Us
Blog Posts - Frequently Asked Questions - Delivery Details - Discounts & Wholesale - Warranty & Returns - Contact - Search

Meters & Monitors
Power Meters - Energy Monitors - Thermal Imaging - Thermometers - Water Monitor - Light Meter

LED Lighting
Downlights - Light Bulbs - Filament Bulbs - LED Tubes - Oyster Lights - Strip Lights - Batten Lights - Panels / Troffers - High Bays - Motion Sensors - Floodlights - Emergency Lights

Energy Savers
Heating & Cooling - Hot Water - Cooking - Standby & Control - Pool Pumps - Portable Power

Read Our Customer Reviews!

Latest Blog Posts

  • How to Install an Energy Monitor If You Have Solar Power

    To get the most out of your solar panels it's critical that you understand your energy usage. Many people who fail to monitor their energy usage end up with high electricity bills, even if they have solar power installed. We sell several... read more

  • How Much Power a Fridge Uses - in Watts, Cost & kWh

    Domestic fridge power consumption is typically between 100 and 250 watts. Over a full day, a fridge is likely to use between 1 to 2 kilowatt-hours (kWh). This translates into a running cost of about $150 per year per fridge. Before you think "okay great... read more

  • Top 10 Causes of (& Solutions to) High Electricity Bills

    If you've received a high electricity bill or gas bill you can end up feeling pretty helpless. I've spoken to many people over the years who think their high electricity bill was caused by: an electricity leak, a faulty appliance, an... read more