Roanoke, Va., November 29, 2011 – Holiday lights are one of the most visible aspects of  the season, and choosing the right variety may be important when it comes to controlling energy costs.  A variety of lighting technologies are available, each with strengths and weaknesses. Appalachian Power recommends customers compare operating costs of each style to help decide which option is best.

Holiday Lighting Options

There are three lighting types commonly used in holiday displays: light-emitting diodes (LEDs), miniature lights and C7 and C9 bulbs. Here is a comparison of the various types of lights, if used five hours a day for a month (150 hours) at Appalachian’s current Virginia residential rate of 9.6 cents per kilowatthour (kWh):

•           The newer light-emitting diode (LED) lights use 0.096 watts per light. Because of  their solid construction, these lights are safer and more durable. Ten sets of 100 of these LED lights would use about $1.36 worth of electricity. LED lights tend to be more expensive to buy than regular incandescent lights, but they use about 90 percent less electricity.

•           The average miniature lights use 0.5 watts per bulb. One string of 100 miniature bulbs would use 7.5 kWh per month. Ten sets of these lights would cost customers $7.12 over a 30 day period.  Icicle lights use the same amount of energy per miniature bulb, but a string of icicle lights with 100 bulbs will cover a much shorter distance than a straight string of miniature lights.

•           C7 screw-in bulbs (about 2” tall with a candelabra base) and C9 screw-in bulbs (about 3” tall with an intermediate base) use about seven watts per bulb. A C7 and C9 bulb string of 25 lights uses 26.29 kWh per month. Ten sets would cost customers $24.98 over a 30 day period.

“With advances in lighting quality and lower operating costs compared to traditional bulbs, LEDs are quickly becoming an energy-efficient alternative for holiday lighting in homes across the country. However, conservation is still the best option for minimizing energy costs,” said Jaime Beckelhimer, customer service manager – field operations. “Turn off holiday lights when you go to bed at night and when you will be away from home. An automatic timer can optimize savings and eliminate the need to go outside on a cold winter evening.”

Appalachian Power offers the following “safe lighting” advice:

•           Use only holiday lights with an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) safety certification label.

•           To prevent short circuits and overloads, make sure light sets are fused. UL listed sets rated 120 V are always fused.

•           Check all the connections and insulation before you plug in any holiday lights. Always test the lights on a nonflammable surface for 15 minutes. If they start to melt, smoke or overheat, throw the string away.

•           Ensure that all outdoor lighting and equipment is certified for outdoor use and that it is plugged into ground fault circuit interrupter outlets.

•           Keep electrical connections off the ground and make sure the wiring is clear of drain pipes and railings to prevent the risk of electrical shock.

•           Avoid stringing holiday lights along aluminum siding, which can conduct electricity.

•           Always stay clear of any power lines.

Many of these holiday tips came from the Watt, Why and How e-Newsletter, which is published monthly. If you would like to receive this newsletter, call Appalachian Power’s 24-hour Customer Solutions Center at 1-800-982-4237 and request that your e-mail address be added to your account information. More energy efficiency and safety tips are available at www.AppalachianPower.com.

Appalachian Power has almost 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. 



Todd Burns
Corporate Communications Manager
(540) 985-2912

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