That coffee you’re drinking while gazing at your iPad? It cost more than all the electricity needed to run those games, emails, videos and news stories for a year.

The annual cost to charge an iPad is just $1.36, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit research and development group funded by electric utilities.

By comparison, a 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb costs $1.61, a desktop PC adds up to $28.21 and a refrigerator runs you $65.72.

The group, known as EPRI, studied the power consumption of Apple Inc.’s iPad to determine the effect that the newly-popular devices might have on the nation’s electricity use.

The answer: not much.

If the number of iPads triples from the current 67 million, they would need the electricity from one small power plant operating at full strength.

But if people are using iPads instead of televisions to play video games, or ditching their desktop computers for iPads, the shift to tablets could mean lower overall power consumption. A desktop computer uses 20 times more power than an iPad.

Baskar Vairmohan, the EPRI researcher who conducted the iPad test, said the group is now studying usage to understand whether the explosion of tablets is adding to power consumption, or reducing it.

Residential power demand is on track to fall for the third straight year, according to the government. A weak economy is keeping people in smaller houses and shacked up with others. At the same time, efficiency programs are pushing more efficient light bulbs, air conditioners and other devices into homes. Refrigerators use a quarter of the power they used a generation ago, according to EPRI.

For the iPad test, Vairmohan measured the amount of power used to charge up an iPad with a drained battery. He assumed that users would charge up every other day. Over a year, the latest version of the iPad consumed 11.86 kilowatt-hours of electricity. (Older versions consume somewhat less power.)

The juice would cost $1.36 at the U.S. average residential price of 11.49 cents per kilowatt-hour.

But there’s an even cheaper way to go than the iPad. EPRI calculated the cost of power needed to fuel an iPhone 4 for year: just 38 cents.

*{The Associated Press/Matzav.com Newscenter}*

Totally untrue. Just an example how some group comes up with some figures and all the media just copy and paste the gibberish. Come on, it costs just $65 to run a fridge for an entire year? In the NY area the cost of electric is 3 times the 11 cents mentioned in the article.

I wish they would share these calculations with the company that provides my home electricity, My Monthy electric bill doesn’t seem to reflect these calculations

This is the dumbest article I’ve ever read, anyone with even a little bit of a brain could handle this.

1) new ipad charger is rated at 10w (http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC359LL/A)

2) lets say it takes 6 hours to charge, that means at max 60 Watt-hours will be used)

3) if charged every every other day it will use 60*365/2 = 10950 watt-hours or 10.950 kilowatt-hours. at 12 cents a kilowatt-hour (which is much cheaper than what we pay in NY), one gets 10.950*.12 = $1.314

i.e. the researchers got paid to spend a few minutes on this problem. good job if you can get it.