October 20, 2022
As local neighborhoods fill up with ghosts, skeletons, witches and other frighteningly fun Halloween decorations, Starkville Utilities is warning customers about real vampires that may be wreaking havoc on monthly power bills.
Vampire energy, also known as phantom power or standby power, is electricity wasted by devices that are plugged in but not in use. But customers won’t need wooden stakes or garlic to deal with these energy-sucking vampires—simply unplugging their power supply finishes them off instantly.
“Helping customers lower utility costs by making their homes more energy efficient is a commitment that adds value to the services we provide,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “The more customers know about energy use, the better they can manage energy costs by learning do-it-yourself tips that can add up to real savings.”
Even though most products draw small amounts of standby power (less than 0.5 watts), their aggregate impact on bills can be scary. Vampire energy can account for as much as 10% of residential electricity usage, according to the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Virtually all new electrical devices and appliances, including TVs, microwave ovens and air conditioners, draw power 24 hours a day. That’s because they feature external power supplies, internal batteries, remote controls, and continuous displays (e.g., LED), and many require a constant network connection.
The DOE suggests these strategies to ward off energy vampires:
What do energy vampires look like? The DOE’s list of potential “unpluggables” includes these devices and appliances:
See a full list of vampires and other helpful tips at https://standby.lbl.gov/what-can-i-unplug-now.
Starkville Utilities is a municipally owned and operated electric and water utility, serving more than 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville as well as the state’s largest institution of higher learning, Mississippi State University.