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AT&T fights vampire loads with new charger

AT&T introduces a cellular phone charger that won't suck up electricity when left in the plug.

Many electronic devices left plugged in sip electricity even when turned off. Attached to the socket all day, your microwave, stereo, television, and cell phone charger passively waste energy—and your money.

AT&T estimates their customers consume enough energy by leaving idle phone chargers in the walls to power 24,000 homes for a year.

The company hopes their new ZERO charger will decrease these wasteful vampire loads (also nicknamed phantom loads). Available at the end of May for around $30, the charger will sense when it is not connected to a cellular phone and will block the power supply from the socket.

Sold separately from an actual phone, the USB-enabled charger will compatible with many of them, including non-AT&T devices. With AT&T's large customer base and then some, the total energy saved could be sizable.

In an effort to cut down landfill waste (and household clutter), AT&T hopes this one charger could also energize their customers future phones. In that vein, those old phones will hopefully be donated or recycled).

Another—and more interesting—option to cut your vampire load is this charging device designed by a student at Rhode Island School of Design. It spits itself out of the wall.

Outlet Regulator Video from conor klein on Vimeo.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com