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The villain known as ‘phantom power’


Alectra Utilities wants you to know there is a villain invading homes across Canada, not just at Halloween but throughout the year.

Phantom power, also known as vampire power, ghost power or standby power, is the culprit quietly consuming electricity from your electronic devices and appliances that are left plugged in all day, every day, even if they are switched off or in standby mode.

The bad news is that this unsuspecting waste can account for 5 to 10 percent of a household’s electricity bill.[i]

A certain amount of phantom power is unavoidable, especially with major appliances or other devices that may be impractical to turn off, however this doesn’t mean you can’t minimize your exposure to phantom power.

The good news is there is an easy way to win the battle against this energy villain: it’s as easy as pulling a few plugs.

Begin by identifying which electronic devices drain electricity when not in use and then follow these four simple steps to take action and save money on your bill:

  1. Unplug devices to cut off electricity when you aren’t using them. Understanding there are some appliances you will want to keep plugged in, such as your refrigerator, there are many others that you may not need, such as your microwave or coffee maker.
  2. Use a power bar with an on/off switch that you can plug multiple items into and simply turn it off when you’re not using the devices. For example, a power bar in a living/family room could have a TV, game console and sound system plugged into it while an office might have a computer, printer, paper shredder, lamp and phone charger.
  3. Give your electricity bill a vacation. Unplug everything when you are away for extended periods of time so you are not paying for extra energy when you’re not at home.
  4. Replace electronics with energy-efficient products. When replacing electronics, purchase appliances carrying the ENERGY STAR® symbol which are certified to consume less electricity when in standby mode.

By taking these few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to reducing your exposure to phantom power, and save some money too!

Alectra Utilities customers can find more information about our energy savings programs at www.alectraConservation.com.

[i] www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/products/categories/electronics/14195

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Author: Corporate Relations Team / Community, Conservation / October 27, 2017