Financial crisis, rising electricity costs, global warming … all this bad news is enough to make you reach for your Micro-Plug Power Saver and chill out.
This electronic device claims to reduce energy consumption by up to 30%, so you can plug in your 6.8m plasma TV, turn your air-con down to arctic and watch the savings roll in, guilt-free.
There's just one problem: it's virtually useless.
CHOICE put it to the test with a fridge, freezer, garden water pump and vacuum cleaner, and used a power meter to measure the kilowatts drawn, with and without the Micro-Plug. The result? No difference.
We also tested it with a drill and recorded a small saving of 5%, so after approximately 10 years of using your drill 24/7 – as you do – you'll have earned back the $150 price tag.
We contacted the distributor, who claimed we hadn't tested correctly and that some of our appliances were too powerful or not powerful enough to get any benefit.
As proof, they volunteered their own test data, including scans of electricity bills from Rich Rich Fried Chicken Restaurant in Seoul before and after Micro-Plugs were put into in use.
Apparently – and we'll take their word for it, as our Korean isn't great – the "before" bill was more expensive.
Perhaps we should outsource all our future lab testing to Rich Rich?