Energy experts have dubbed this waste phantom load. The most common culprits are VCRs, which constantly draw six or seven watts to run their electric clocks or instant-on features, along with answering machines, lights and telephones with the big cube-like plugs.
Martin Mittelstaedt, "Slow down the meter to save on power bills," The Globe and Mail, November 26, 2003
The consumption from these hidden phantom loads in the United States is said to equal the electricity use of Greece, Peru, and Vietnam combined. When an appliance is not in use, switch it off at the wall.
"Energy savers the real stars," The Christchurch Press, September 11, 2001
—Brian Green, "It's Gotta Be Spring," Home Power, June/July, 1989
Many thanks to Michael Welch for supplying the earliest citation from 1989.
off the grid