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Duke Energy Declares War on Vampires Oct. 29, 2009

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This Halloween, Duke Energy is declaring war on energy vampires – household electronics, gadgets and tools that sap electricity and cause power bills to rise.

Devices that draw vampire energy, also known as “phantom” or “stand-by” energy, can account for as much as 20 percent of a home’s power use, according to some studies. The most common culprits: plug-in adapters for rechargeable, battery-powered electronics such as cell phones, cordless phones, digital music players, power tools, electric toothbrushes and other similar devices.

Most of these adapters consume energy whenever they are plugged into an outlet, even if the device is not connected. Appliances and electronic equipment with stand-by capability also use electricity when they are not in use; flat-panel televisions and digital video recorders are examples.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are supposedly off or in stand-by mode. This vampire power collectively adds up to more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.

As Halloween approaches, Duke Energy offers the following tips to combat energy vampires:

  • Wait until nightfall, then turn off the lights in your home and look for the eyes that glow. The eerie stand-by lights on devices such as cable boxes, LCD televisions and cell phone chargers are tell-tale signs that you’re falling victim to energy vampires. (Keep in mind that some devices may need to be on 24-7 in order to function as intended.)
  • Unplug devices that are not in use, especially adapters for battery-powered devices that are already fully charged or not connected.
  • Equip yourself with power strips or surge suppressors. Plugging appliances and other electronic equipment into these units make it easy to turn the power off with a single switch. (Surge suppressors will also protect your valuable electronics during storms.)
  • Look for electronic devices and appliances with the Energy Star® label because they use less electricity when in use and during stand-by mode.

Duke Energy provides energy and cost-saving tips, videos and online tools on its Web site at Additional information is also available on the U.S. Department of Energy Web site at

Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, supplies and delivers electricity to approximately 4 million U.S. customers in its regulated jurisdictions. The company has approximately 35,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Midwest and the Carolinas, and natural gas distribution services in Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4,000 megawatts of electric generation in Latin America, and is a joint-venture partner in a U.S. real estate company. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at:

Contact: Greg Efthimiou
Phone: 704-382-1925
24-Hour Phone: 800-559-3853

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