23 Sep 2004, 11:30:50 AM

Reporter: Miranda Miller

VCR'S, DVD's, home theatres, widescreen TV's the list goes on. We're filling our homes and lives with more and more electronic gadgets than ever before, most of which stay turned on in the 20-odd hours a day they are not being used.

All those little lights that stayed on after he'd turned off his home computer system bothered David Baughan: "Ten o'clock every night you'd go to bed and see the study lit up like a Christmas tree! It was crazy" he said.

He knew it had to be costing him money. "No one really wants to climb under the desk and turn it off at the powerpoint of the wall every time" he said.

And so David came up with this device: the Power Genie, which does exactly that for you. Turn off one appliance, and anything else that doesn't need to be on, will switch off with it.

He explains "In our TV room, we use the set top box as the control device for the Power Genie, so when the set top box goes off, the television goes off, the DVD goes off, and the VCR goes off. Off. Not on standby. Off, as in unplugged, no fire risk, no energy being used, completely safe".

Glenn Davidson has been trialing the Power Genie for 6 months, and his bill has dropped by 4%. He says his family doesn't use a lot of appliances, so the savings for people who do would be huge. "I like to do it in tanks worth of petrol" he explains, "If I can get another tank full of petrol every quarter, out of the saved money, that's good".

The Power Genie costs $59.95, and will even leave the clock up on your video while turning off everything else.

Glenn says as well as households, schools and businesses with multiple computer systems could save thousands: "So the last person to walk out the door, or whoever is the more responsible person, remembers to turn just that one button off, rather than turning 15, 20, 30 buttons off. That makes a big difference to an organization" he says.

"11.6% of Australia's domestic power usage is wasted standby energy. That equates to $500 million a year, or 50 million tones of greenhouse gases in wasted standby energy" declares David.

He has had huge interest from overseas, but here in Australia, he says its difficult to get noticed. He wants to keep producing the Genie here, but may be forced to go off-shore.

Leigh Hepburn, from the Inventors Association, says its unfortunate that inventors like David have to do well outside Australia before they are taken seriously here: "We have a lot of talk in this country about keeping products here and supporting Australia. But any inventor here, like the small ones we deal with, don't have the resources. So they chase a reduced manufacturing cost country, which is usually India, China Asia somewhere" he says.

David truly believes in his product: "The thing about the Power Genie is that a lot of people don't want to spend money to save money. But the thing about Power Genie is that it pays for itself, and then keeps saving you money.

For more details on the Power Genie call (03) 9728 8822 or visit their website: www.powergenie.com <http://www.powergenie.com>