Love Your Home this Valentine's Day, Reduce Phantom Electricity Use

News Release

02/14/2020

Madison, Wis. – You can reduce electric use in your home up to 9% by taking a thorough inventory of everything plugged in and selectively shutting down unused, always-on devices, according to new research conducted by Alliant Energy.

Maybe more importantly to Wisconsinites, the utility’s study finds taking these steps could save them up to $90 per year on their power bill.

“This study gives homeowners and renters in Wisconsin really important information. They now understand they can control, to a greater degree than they may have known before, this ‘phantom electricity’ use in their homes,” said Scott Yee, Residential Portfolio Manager at FOCUS ON ENERGY®, Wisconsin’s utility-funded statewide energy efficiency and renewable resources program.

For the study, Alliant Energy conducted research with 100 of its residential customers who volunteered to participate and have Sense energy monitors attached to the electric panels in their homes.

Results show that up to one quarter of daily residential energy use powers devices that are always on, many of which are not in use.

“Customers today lose track of what’s plugged in at home. A fan in the attic, a baby monitor that fell behind the dresser, multiple plugged-in cell phone chargers…these are examples of items our customers found plugged-in that didn’t need to be,” said Jeff Adams, lead customer product manager, Alliant Energy. “The problem is, if they’re plugged in, they are using electricity, even if they are turned off or in stand-by mode. As a group, these items waste a lot of energy.”

One potential solution to phantom electricity use is an advanced power strip. These power strips recognize when an electric device goes into standby mode and automatically cuts off electricity, providing a set-it-and-forget-it solution for busy homeowners.

Advanced power strips are available in some of the free packs Focus on Energy offers to residential customers of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that partner in the Program. The packs include other energy-saving items like a variety of LED lightbulbs, pipe insulation tape and high-efficiency showerheads. Learn more about how to order your free Focus Pack at www.focusonenergy.com/free.

Learn more about Alliant Energy’s pilot study here and the evaluation of its findings by Cadmus here.

Focus Pack options include a pack with an advanced power strip, one tool for reducing phantom electricity use and saving you money.
Focus Pack options include a pack with an advanced power strip, one tool for reducing phantom electricity use and saving you money. The packs are free and available to customers of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that partner in Focus on Energy. Learn more at www.focusonenergy.com/free
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