Save your hard-earned money and ensure your friends or family do not fall victim to an energy saving scam. After reading this article, you will know how to identify one of these scams!

A common energy scam you’re likely to come across is a little box, usually about the size of a wall timer, that you simply plug into an electrical outlet (like the “Souwa Power Save, 90V-250V 30KW Electricity Saving Box“, available on Amazon). The purveyors of these things claim you’ll save 25%, 35%, some say 60% or more on your electric bill.

In some cases they sell larger units that are “hard-wired” into your homes electrical panel (like the “MWS KVAR Energy Saver Power Factor Correction Unit Home Surge Protector” on Amazon). In any event, these units won’t save a penny on your electrical bill! Let’s take a brief look at how to identify one of these.

They go by a variety of names, here are just a few I’ve come across: Power Saver Home, Electric Saver 1200, Energy Saver, Power Energy Saver, KVAR, or (in general terms) they are also referred to as “Power Factor Correction” equipment.

The manufacturers may provide pictures or a video with meters showing how the electricity is lower when something’s plugged into it versus not. They may also include convincing testimonials from customers or even actual electricians swearing by them. But the reason these “Power Savers” don’t save you anything on your electricity bill is because, unless you’re a very large industrial customer, you are only billed for what the utility calls “real power” not “apparent power”. Power Factor Correction devices will save households and businesses nothing.

The difference between real and apparent power is something called “power factor”. “In electrical engineering, the power factor of an AC electrical power system is defined as the ratio of the real power absorbed by the load to the apparent power flowing in the circuit.[1]

For industrial purposes it makes a difference – and you’re charged extra because of it – but the equipment used is massive and specially engineered for each situation. If you’re a techie and would like more details, Electronics Believer provides in-depth information on this complex topic.