A phantom load is the energy an electrical device uses when it is turned off. Devices with phantom loads usually have remote controls, continuous digital displays, rechargeable batteries, or an external power source, like some printers and iPod chargers.
Examples of devices that use phantom loads are microwave ovens, televisions, garage-door openers, stereos, coffee makers, computers, clock radios, and cell phone and tablet chargers.
A single appliance's phantom load (also known as "standby loss") may be small, but it consumes that enegy around the clock. The average U.S. household uses 50 watts of energy - continuously - on phantom loads (which is 4% of the average home's electric bill).
The following suggestions will help you save about $200: unplug devices that are not being used (including fully-charged devices), buy and use Energy Star appliances, and turn off power strips when you go to bed, work, or on vacation.