Charleston, W.Va., December 5, 2008 – If you want your home to look bright and cheery for the holiday season, but don’t want to pay a lot to do it maybe you should consider upgrading your old holiday lighting set. Appalachian Power customers can recognize significant savings by switching to energy efficient decorative lighting.

 “Customers can keep their homes festive all season for just pennies with energy saving holiday lighting options,” said Jeri Matheney, Appalachian Power corporate communications manager.   “Although Appalachian Power customers pay some of the lowest electric rates in the nation, it’s always good to conserve energy and money.”

While the national average cost of electricity is more than 13 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh), Appalachian Power customers in West Virginia and Virginia pay around 8 cents per kwh. Tennessee customers pay close to 6 cents per kwh.

Incandescent mini-lights are the most common type of decorative lighting. At 8 cents per kwh, to operate one 100-bulb strand of 1-watt bulbs would consume 100 watts of electricity at a rate of about 0.8 of a cent per hour. If the bulbs are on five hours a day for 30 days over the holidays, or 150 hours, it will cost about $1.20. If the bulbs are blinking, the cost would be half that.

Increasingly available to consumers are Light Emitting Diode (LED) decorative lights. They use a single bulb and emit light through the strands. They last 10 times longer and are safer because they produce much less heat than a traditional light set. LED light sets often have a higher up-front cost – four to five times the cost of a string of incandescent bulbs – but they use about 95 percent less electricity. Appalachian customers could operate a set of LED lights consuming only 5 watts for the entire 150-hour holiday season for about 6 cents or less.

Seasonal lighting costs really begin to add up if you use larger, screw-in type 7-watt incandescent bulbs. They cost about 5.6 cents per hour to operate. Using the 150-hour example, using these bulbs would cost $8.40 in electricity over the holidays.

Type of Light
Cost per kwh
Hourly cost
to operate
X 150 hours
100 light, LED
5 watts
8 cents
.004 cents
150 hours
100 light
100 watts
8 cents
.8 cents
150 hours
100 light incandescent
700  watts
8 cents
5.6 cents
150 hours
Don’t let electrical fires dampen holiday spirit
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International nearly 130,000 fires will be reported in December alone, claiming over 400 lives and causing more than 1,600 injuries.  
Most of the damage could be prevented by using electricity more carefully. Appalachian Power recommends the following tips:
  • Check each holiday light string before using it. If you find frayed cords or damaged plugs or light sockets, discard the string.
  • Use the correct lights for the job. Don´t use outdoor lights indoors, because they usually burn hotter than indoor lights. Also, do not use indoor lights outdoors, because they may not be waterproof.
  • Use only UL-approved (Underwriters Laboratory) lights and extension cords.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits. Connect lights to power strips that have several outlets and a built-in circuit breaker.
  • Remember to unplug indoor lights when you go to bed.
  • Additional safety tips from ESFI are available at http://www.holidaysafety.org.

Appalachian Power provides electricity to 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with 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, VA-TN

Phil Moye,
Corporate Communications Manager, WV

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