By Mary Bubala

BALTIMORE (WJZ) ― Are phantom loads overloading your BGE bill?

Mary Bubala reports phantom loads, or standby power, is a term for the electricity consumed by an electronic device while it’s turned off or in standby mode.

That includes power that maintains your cell phone charger when not in use, coffeemakers and even clocks on your VCR.

In a study by the EPA, researchers found phantom loads can add as much as 10 percent a month to your utility bill.

Pick and choose which devices are worth unplugging entirely.  For example, maybe you can live without the clock telling you the right time on your VCR.

Another idea is to plug all your computer components into a power strip and then just flip that switch off when you head out for the day. A product called the “smart strip” power strip does that automatically for you.  If your computer isn’t in use for an hour, it turns off — saving you money.

Comments (8)
  1. Derek says:

    VCR? What is/are that/those?

    Are “Phantom Loads” similar to “Energy Vampires”? We just ran a story about those on our blog: http://blog.longfenceandhome.com/2011/01/5-forgotten-energy-vampires/

  2. whatnow says:

    There is some kind of phantom load going on. I just got my BGE bill and for a house with a brand new heat pump and new insulation and the heat set on 62 degrees and only 988 square feet my bill was $425. I cannot believe it (or afford it). And BGE lies and says it was because it was cold. I ride the light rail and walk 5 blocks every day. It was much colder in December than January. That also takes money out of the economy. No restaurants or new clothes for me for a long time. That is more then double what I had budgeted. I hope the CEO enjoys his $10M bonus!

    1. energypoor in Bmore says:

      @ Whatnow – I feel you on the big utility bills. I heat with oil and that was running at $3.20 per gallon in Dec/Jan and $375 now! I need at least 150 to make through 30 days. As for heat pumps, given how the systems maintain a temp of 62 degrees along with all the other electrical high wattage devices involved, your bill could literally go through the roof during a cold snap. For instance, the blower motors are need to force air through the vents; another blower driven pump is needed to draw air in, if it’s too cold, backup heating elements might kick in automatically, and so on, you get the picture.

  3. Gene says:

    anyone see a pattern here? constant reminders, hints, and “helpful” reasons of why our BGE utility bills are going up other that the fact that BGE REPORTED RECORD PROFITS ONE YEAR AND DOUBLED OUR RATES THE FOLLOWING YEAR AT THE END OF REGULATION, AND CONTINUES TO SEAK RATE HIKES!!!

    F*** BGE and the state of MD for that matter

  4. Billy says:

    BGE needs to be regulated again. this is BS. Bills should not be this high. We all need to write and keep the pressure on our elected officials and demand change..if they loose votes, don;t you think they won;t go hmmmmmm

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