CPU Cautions Customers Against Vampire Energy

Unplugging electronic devices can lower monthly energy costs

Vampires, ghosts and goblins, oh my! With Halloween fast approaching, now is a great time to combat those energy-draining phantoms that may be wasting your hard-earned money.

Vampire energy, also known as standby power or phantom power, is the energy used by certain electronic devices and plugged-in appliances, even when they are turned off.

While it might seem trivial, it’s frightening how much energy can add up over time and increase monthly utility bills. In fact, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimates that as much as 10 percent of residential electricity use goes toward this standby power mode.

Anything with a plug can be a vampire energy user. So even if the device is turned off, it is sucking up electricity if it is still plugged in. The most common culprits include household electronics with instant-on capability and those with display screens or built-in clocks and timers.

“We want to help our customers control these energy vampires so they don’t take a bite out of their wallets,” said Curtis D. Boschert, CPU general manager. “A few simple steps can ward them off and lead to significant savings.”

It has been estimated that vampire energy can cost the average household an extra $200 per year, with areas such as home offices, kitchens and living rooms driving much of that increase. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Just unplug. While this may not be a smart move for your built-in microwave or larger appliances, consider unplugging devices that you don't use very often — such as a second television set or a toaster oven. Also remember to unplug battery chargers after electronics have fully charged.
  • Use a strip. Plug devices into power strips so you can easily turn them off when not needed. Consider using advanced power strips that have built-in features designed to reduce the amount of energy used by many electronics.
  • Enable sleep mode. Computers, gaming consoles and other electronics have energy-saving features built right in. Curb idle time by enabling sleep mode when you’re not using them.
  • Research your options. When it comes time to upgrade devices that have become outdated or no longer work, choose new ones that use the least amount of standby power. Check out the ENERGY STAR website for product information.

For more energy-conservation tips to help you save money, visit the CPU website.

Clarksdale Public Utilities is a municipally owned utility serving approximately 6,800 homes and businesses in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Its mission is to safely provide sustainable electric, water and wastewater services in a reliable and courteous manner by well-trained team members, committed to top quality, efficient operations, competitive rates and the vitality of the community.

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For more than 125 years, Clarksdale Public Utilities has supplied utility services that support our community’s growth, vibrance and quality of life. But we are more than a provider of reliable and affordable electric, water and wastewater services — we are your family, friends and neighbors. We are people who care. We are CPU.

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