Here's one problem that should be relatively easy to fix:While I don't want to advocate against a new law mandating standby power drain, this is one of those things we can all fix at home. Simply take any appliances that don't absolutely need to be plugged in, and connect them to a power bar with its own switch. When you turn off the power bar, it's like unplugging the appliances.
"Strange though it seems, a typical microwave oven consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food. For while heating food requires more than 100 times as much power as running the clock, most microwave ovens stand idle--in "standby" mode--more than 99% of the time."
Apparently, somewhere between 5 and 13 percent of residential power is consumed by appliances that nobody is actually using. Hmph.
The solution here -- dare I even say it -- seems to be government intervention.
Some caveats: If you program your coffeemaker or VCR, leave it plugged in directly. Similarly, if you don't want to have to turn on your TV before the remote control will work, you'll also want to keep it plugged in to the wall. Finally, your computer's motherboard has a small battery that will drain if you leave it unplugged for very long. You either need to replace it or leave the computer plugged in too.
But for things that are only used occasionally, like microwaves or DVD players, this solution works nicely. Until the feds pass a law mandating the one-watt standard, it'll have to do.