Mathew and Aaron, of Tikipunga Primary School, asks :-

How much electricity gets wasted every day?

Gordon Vickers, a physicist with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, responded.

The obvious way of wasting electricity occurs when we leave on something which is not needed, for example a computer when you weren't using it. This waste costs nothing to stop. We have noticed that this type of waste is always worse when the person causing the waste does not have to pay for the electricity, for example children and employees.

A similar type of waste can be caused by using equipment in an inefficient way. An example would be using hot water in the washing machine when cold water will wash the clothes just as well if a modern cold water powder is used.

We can only guess at the amount of both these types of waste, which can be avoided by what we call "good housekeeping" (even in offices and industry) but we think over all electricity users it could average 10% of all electricity use. Savings from good houskeeping of home appliances could be as high as 20%.

Another type of waste occurs when the equipment uses more electricity than necessary because it is old or of an inefficient type. An example would be an older hot-water cylinder which feels warm to the touch because heat is escaping. In this case the waste cannot be stopped by someone turning the equipment off or using it differently (unless they like cold showers). They have to spend some money and buy a cylinder wrap to stop the waste, so they have to think about the savings and make sure that they will be more than the cost of the wasted electricity. We have done some more guessing here and think that 20% of electricity could be saved without spending more money than the cost of the electricity saved.