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Beware of the "Phantom of the Outlet": PSEG Long Island Warns Standby Power Usage May Be Increasing Electric Bills

LongIsland.com

Cell phone chargers, electric toothbrushes and computers plugged into the outlet use electricity. Each device on its own does not pull a large amount of energy, but as a whole, it is more troublesome.

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There are simple ways to eliminate the “Phantom of the Outlet” and save energy.

Photo by: PSEG Long Island, via YouTube.

Uniondale, NY - October 31, 2016 - PSEG Long Island pointed out this morning that Halloween is a not only a time for little monsters to go door to door looking for “tricks or treats,” it is also a time to be aware of the “Phantom of the Outlet” sucking the life out of budgets and harming the environment all year long.

“The Phantom is everywhere in your home,” said Michael Voltz, director of energy efficiency and renewables, PSEG Long Island. “The more energy we use, the more power needs to be generated by power plants. Eliminating phantom load translates to lower energy use, carbon emissions and electric bills.”

There is no need for alarm, however, as this phantom works though electrical outlets and can be stopped by pulling a few plugs. This energy sucking monster is phantom load, also known as vampire power and standby load.  Many appliances and gadgets waste electricity just by being plugged in, even when turned off.

Cell phone chargers, electric toothbrushes and computers plugged into the outlet use electricity. Each device on its own does not pull a large amount of energy, but as a whole, it is more troublesome.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in the United States alone, phantom power costs consumers more than $3 billion a year.  Over time, many microwaves and televisions may actually consume more electricity during the hours not in use than turned on. In the average American home, 25 percent of electricity used by home electronics occurs while the products are off.

There are simple ways to eliminate the “Phantom of the Outlet” and save energy. The easiest way to fight the phantom is to unplug electronic devices when they are not in use. An efficient technique to accomplish this is to use a surge protector or a power-strip. Plug multiple items in the strip and turn it off when those devices are not in use. This eliminates the phantom.

A certain amount of standby power is unavoidable, especially with major appliances or other devices that are impractical to turn off. This doesn’t mean phantom power can't be kept to a minimum. Customers can buy ENERGY STAR® products, which are energy efficient use less electricity, even in standby mode.

PSEG Long Island offers rebates on a variety of ENERGY STAR products. Between 2014 and today, residential customers have taken advantage of more than 45,000 rebates on many ENERGY STAR certified washers, dryers, refrigerators, room air conditioners and more.  From January 1, 2014 to August 31, 2016, residential customers purchased more than 7.8 million ENERGY STAR light bulbs and fixtures with incentives provided by PSEG Long Island. By upgrading a single incandescent light bulb to a LED, customers can save approximately $230 over the lifetime of each bulb.