MEMBER SERVICES Q&A: Energy vampires


    Q: I recently heard about energy vampires and phantom loads that can increase  your electric bill. I’m not one to believe in ghosts, but I am curious as to what this is all about.

    A: Energy vampires can be a scary thing for your electric bill. All of those chargers for cell phones, laptops, tablets and other electronic items can eat up power just by being plugged in — even when they aren’t in use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the phantom load sucked out by these energy vampires can be responsible for adding more than 10 percent to your monthly electric bill.
There are a few simple things you can do to keep energy vampires under control. First, unplug any devices that aren’t used often. While no one wants to reset their alarm clock and cable box every day, it’s easy to unplug any extra TVs, computers and other electronics that are rarely used. Also be sure to unplug any unused cell phone, battery or camera chargers.
    You can also save electricity by setting up a charging station with a power strip. Simply plug your chargers into the power strip and turn it off and on as needed. Turning off a power strip will completely disconnect the power supply, which also makes it easy to manage electricity used by an extra TV hooked up to a DVD player and gaming systems.
    The next time you’re buying appliances, make sure to look for the Energy Star logo. These products are among the lowest power consumers in their category while in standby mode. If you already own an Energy Star-rated computer or monitor, enable the power-save mode to kick in when appliances are not in use.
    — Crystal Shelby, member service representative

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