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Electricity

What is phantom power?
—Ellen

Answer: Phantom power, also known as “vampire power,” is electricity that is used by appliances when they are off, but still plugged in. Many electronic devices and appliances (including TVs, DVD players, computers, and printers) draw power for remote controls, digital clocks, and standby functions even after you turn them off. Phone and computer chargers also do this. You can stop these energy vampires by unplugging all appliances, chargers, and electronics between uses. To make it easier, plug them into a power strip that you can conveniently shut off when items are not in use.

What are the off-peak price hours for Eversource in New Hampshire?
—John McCormack

Answer: Thanks for the question, Mr. McCormack. For questions specific to Eversource New Hampshire rates, please contact Customer Service. Thank you.

I once saw a pair of shoes hanging from a power line. Why didn’t the shoes get burned up by the electricity in the line?
—Will

Answer: Shoes hanging on a power line don’t get burned for the same reason that birds standing on a power line don’t get shocked: they don’t give electricity a path to the ground, so electricity stays in the line and does not go through them. But if the shoes were to touch a power line and a power pole at the same time, they would provide a path to the ground and would get blasted with electric current. It wouldn’t be pretty!

By the way, if you ever see someone throwing shoes up onto a line, tell them to stop! The shoes can damage the power line, or someone trying to get the shoes down could be seriously shocked or even killed.

How much energy is in a bolt of lightning?
—Sophie

Answer: One lightning strike can carry up to 30 million volts—as much electricity as 2.5 million car batteries.

Why didn’t Ben Franklin get killed when he tied a metal key to a kite string and flew the kite in a thunderstorm?
—Zachary

Answer: Ben Franklin’s famous key did give off an electric spark. But lucky for Franklin, the kite was just drawing small electrical charges from the air. If the kite had been struck by lightning, Franklin could have been killed!

Natural Gas

Energy Efficiency