Take a stake to Energy Vampires

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ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Here'’s something sure to get your blood boiling: Even when they aren'’t switched to the “"on”" position, energy vampires -– TVs, laptops, cellphones, chargers and even coffee makers -– are slowly draining electricity and money from your wallet.

Together, these power-sucking appliances can account for up to 20 percent of your electric bill.

Vampire loads, also called phantom loads or standby power, refer to the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in standby mode.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), vampire loads are responsible for approximately 5 percent of the energy consumed in the United States, costing electric customers more than $3 billion each year.

"“Energy vampires can be found in every room in your house,”" said Malcolm Barnes, energy efficiency manager for Duke Energy Florida. "“Unlike fictional vampires, they don'’t sleep during the day. They draw power 24 hours a day, which wastes electricity and adds cost to your power bill.”"

Turn off your lights at night to see where energy vampires lurk. Standby lights on electronics, such as TVs, cable boxes, DVRs and MP3 players, are telltale signs that your power is slowly draining even though the product isn'’t in use.

Here are some tips that can help take a bite out of your bill:

  • Unplug devices when you’re not using them, including adapters for battery-powered gizmos that are not connected or are fully charged. Also, set your computers and other equipment to an energy-efficient mode.

  • Plug devices and equipment, including adapters, into power strips. This makes it easier to turn them off with a single switch. You can even buy “smart” power strips that automatically turn off power to devices that aren’t in use.

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label when purchasing new appliances. ENERGY STAR® appliances can use up to half as much energy to perform their normal duties.

  • Avoid buying products that include “bells and whistles” you don’t need. Some of these extra features may waste energy.

For a thorough energy-efficiency assessment of your home or business, contact Duke Energy Florida for a no-cost Home Energy Check. Through this service, which can be performed online, over the phone or in person, a highly trained Energy Advisor will provide customized, energy-saving advice and determine your eligibility for company rebates toward energy-efficient home improvements. A Home Energy Check is a prerequisite to all Duke Energy rebates.

To sign up for a no-cost Home Energy Check or for more information about residential or business rebates and energy efficiency tips that can help you save energy and money, visit www.duke-energy.com.

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to approximately 1.7 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Duke Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at www.duke-energy.com.