Utilities Warn Customers of Phantoms and Vampires this Halloween

Rebecca Harris, Research Analyst –

It’s nearly Halloween! A time for candy, costumes and… warnings about the monstrous dangers of standby power.

Common residential devices like chargers, cable boxes, microwaves and computers suck up power when they’re idle, leading utilities to warn customers about “vampire power” and “phantom load.” Even when customers aren’t using any electronics, devices on standby can add up to 10% to their electric bill.

Many utilities, naturally, take the opportunity to talk about these phantoms and vampires in late October, and these messages are often quite clever and cute. Here’s a roundup of some messages on standby power that utilities (and one Canadian province) have communicated this year:

Ontario’s Ministry of Energy introduced a new superhero, Phantom Power, as part of a larger #OFFtober Twitter campaign.

Duke Energy shared its “Energy Slayer Calculator” to show customers how much they could save by unplugging unused electronics.

Tampa Electric issued a news release that quickly got the point: Unplug electronics.

ComEd advertised its discounts on advanced power strips to customers wanting to reduce their phantom load.

Consumers Energy’s Energy Solutions newsletter includes an infographic on “warding off” vampire power.

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