Love him or hate him, Elon Musk has a lot of sway when it comes to technology. So we wanted to know about new claims that Musk is also behind energy-saving devices that could lower or even eliminate your power bill.
Sarah Petit was curious. She watches her electric use these days as her bills go up and up.
"I have a very large, very old home," she said, "and it's a constant battle to keep up with the energy bills."
She was interested in a social media ad she found on her feed claiming Elon Musk is selling a plug-in energy saver for your home.
"I see this ad for a device that's supposed to cut your energy bill 90%," she said. "And that's a significant cut!"
Byron Miller is seeing the same ads on his feeds.
"Well, if he's a part of this, it would be great," Miller said. "I mean, he's a genius by far."
But he was wondering whether Musk was really behind such devices.
Fact check raises questions
Celebrity endorsements are enough for many people to buy whatever the celebs sell. But a recent Reuters Fact Check says "there is no evidence" the billionaire is selling an energy-saving device, contrary to those social media posts.
We checked with the electric industry and saw similar skepticism. Aaron Ismail with the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative says these devices go by several names and will often change names.
"If there was indeed a device that you could just plug in and reduce your power bill, we would be all over it," Ismail said.
A vital part of the claim is that savings take several months to kick in.
"Coincidentally, that's when you get out of the return time frame as well," Ismail said. "And then you can't actually return the device."
Things you can do
To actually make a real dent in your electricity usage, he says:
- Turn lights and appliances off when they're not in use.
- Install more efficient appliances.
- Ask your electric company if they perform energy audits.
- Seal cracks in your home.
"See where you might have air escaping and coming in, like ceiling cracks, ceiling windows, sealing around your outlets," he said.
Petit was almost ready to order a plug-in energy saver until she realized the photo of Musk holding one was fake.
"After I went back and looked at it a couple more times, you could tell it was Photoshopped," she said.
Be careful of supposed celebrity endorsements so you don't waste your money.
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