Beware of Energy Vampires this Halloween: Unplug Unused Appliances

As zombies and ghosts prepare to invade your neighborhood later this month, it’s a great time to watch for goblins that may already be lurking inside your house – vampires.

“Energy vampires” are electronics and appliances that constantly use electricity, even when they are not actively being used, such as cell-phone chargers or televisions. A typical home has about 20 energy vampires. The phantom or standby load created by energy vampires can add about 5 percent to the average electricity bill, according to national estimates – which is roughly $3 billion annually.

But don’t fear. October is National Energy Awareness Month, and Tampa Electric wants to remind our customers that with a little common sense – and maybe some garlic – you can drive a stake through the heart of energy vampires and save a few dollars on your power bill:

  • Plug digital video recorders (DVRs), gaming consoles or cable set-top boxes into a power strip – and turn the strip off when they are not in use. (Annual savings = $32)
  • Screen savers are not “green” savers. Turn off your computer, laptop and printer if you won’t be using them in the next two hours. (Annual savings = $16)
  • Plasma televisions produce nine times more phantom load than newer, energy-efficient LED TVs (Annual savings = $8)
  • Cell phone and laptop chargers use energy, even when not charging a device. Unplug them and other appliances, like coffee makers and electric toothbrushes, when not in use. (Annual savings = $6)

Customers can see their potential savings by using our phantom energy calculator: visit our site and click on “phantom load.” Tampa Electric offers free online, phone and in-home audits to review other tricks and treats to save money on your power bills. Schedule your phone audit by calling 813-275-3909.

Tampa Electric has been encouraging sustainability for nearly 40 years. In that time, the company has performed more than 685,000 energy audits that help customers use energy more wisely and become more energy-efficient. Tampa Electric offers 35 programs to help residential and business customers reduce their overall energy usage, and ultimately their energy costs. Sign up online at

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves more than 800,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.