Monday, October 27, 2008


Beware of Vampires at All Times Not Just at Halloween
Direct Energy offers tips on how to guard against vampire electronics

Last update: 7:01 a.m. EDT Oct. 27, 2008
TORONTO, ONTARIO, Oct 27, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- They're called vampire electronics, they suck energy even when turned off and can drive up the energy bills of unwary consumers. Although this eerie-sounding term can result in chilling home energy bills, the solution is not that scary. To keep energy bills down and consumption in check, the key is to identify the electronic culprits and drive a stake through their power-hungry hearts.
Counted among the legions of vampire electronics in most homes are portable MP3 players, mobile phones and televisions. Even microwaves, stoves and washing machines can take on vampire-like qualities. These small appliances and electronic devices continue zapping energy when not in use to power features such as clock displays, remote controls and battery chargers - a fact that many consumers are not aware of.
Many vampire electronics lurk in the average Canadian home, making the potential for energy waste shocking. For instance, a sleek plasma TV monitor can suck up to 1,452.4 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually, which translates into approximately $116.19 per year. A video game console consumes about 233.9 kWh annually while in active standby mode, ringing up to about $18.71 a year. Even the average home computer uses a whopping 311.0 kWh annually when in standby mode, costing about $24.88 a year.
"Halloween is a great time for Canadians to exorcise these electrical demons from their homes," said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas at Direct Energy. "We don't realize that small things, such as leaving the phone-charger plugged in or power-tools in their chargers, use energy. But over time, a great deal of power is consumed. As people prepare to winterize their homes, they should also devise a strategy to minimize the amount of energy their homes use, even when they're not around or sleeping."
Direct Energy is focused on helping its customers use energy more efficiently as a means to reduce their energy costs. It offers the following tips to prevent vampire electronics from sticking home owners with a frightening energy bill:
- When finished charging devices such as a personal digital assistant, mobile phone, or portable mp3 player, disconnect the device and unplug the charger. Even if the device isn't connected, energy continues to seep out through the charger itself.
- Unplug all major appliances when heading out on vacation. Even when devices such as the microwave, stove and washing machine aren't in use their LED panels continue to gobble energy.
- Turn all computers and monitors off. Though this equipment may convert to sleep mode, it keeps draining energy.
- Rather than leaving a light on to deter burglars, install a timer. This way, lights are on for only a short period rather than all day.
- Purchase a power bar that can turn several appliances off at the same time so plugging- in and un-plugging is easier and more convenient.
Taking simple steps like these can make a big difference when it comes to monthly energy bills. Armed with the knowledge of what vampire electronics are, home owners can tame them before they are sucked dry.

Electricity Usage of Vampire Electronics
Device Annual Power Usage Annual Cost
(kWh) (8 cents/kWh)
Plasma TV (active 1,452.40 $ 116.19
standby mode)
Desktop computer 311 $ 24.88
(passive standby
Video game console 233.9 $ 18.71
Laptop (passive) 144.5 $ 11.56
VCR (active) 92 $ 7.36
DVD player (active) 78.8 $ 6.30
Convection microwave 35 $ 2.80
Cordless phone base 28.9 $ 2.31
station (passive)
LCD monitor (passive) 22.8 $ 1.82
Radio (passive) 13.1 $ 1.05
Rechargeable 12.3 $ 0.98
toothbrush (passive)
2,570.70 $ 205.66
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Source: 2005 Intrusive Residential Standby Service Report: Department
of Energy

About Direct Energy
Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (UK:CNA: news, chart, profile) , one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 22 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit

Direct Energy
Crystal Jongeward
(416) 590-3248

SOURCE: Direct Energy

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