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Powergen challenges energy myths

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The mistaken belief that leaving office lights on at night saves money is the most widespread energy myth among UK businesses, according to Powergen.

Staff members on the company’s Business Energy Helpline reveal that many small and medium businesses think fluorescent tubes use extra electricity to ‘warm up’ and that switching them on continuously shortens their life span.

Powergen insists this was only ever true of lights from the 1950s and says modern starter motors are designed for heavy use. Money is saved when the lights are switched off for any more than 10 minutes.

Along similar lines, Powergen says some people believe that leaving PCs switched on or on standby is better than switching them off. A PC on standby, however, consumes up to 50% of the electricity it normally uses.

The SME manager at Powergen, Neil Gould, said: “The fluorescent lighting issue in particular seems to have somehow found its way into the annals of accepted business practice and yet the evidence that it isn’t true has existed for some time. In reality, the only thing to remember is, ‘If it’s not being used, turn it down or turn it off’.”

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