November 13, 2002

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 13, 2002-With the holidays right around the corner, Southern California Edison (SCE) is reminding customers to lower their energy bills by using energy-efficient holiday lights. 

Although holiday lights add sparkle to winter nights, there are major differences in the energy costs between using standard C-7 lights and light emitting diode, or LED lights for holiday decorating.

"Depending upon the price a customer pays per kilowatt-hour, energy costs can double based on the type of lights they choose," said Lynda Ziegler, SCE director of customer programs and services. "Not only are LEDs less expensive to use, they last much longer than standard C-7 bulbs or mini-lights."

Some LED holiday lights are rated for up to 200,000 hours of use. And bright, colorful LEDs can cut your holiday lighting costs by up to 90%.  Five strings of LED lights can cost only 80 cents per month to operate versus nearly $20 per month for five strings of C-7 lights.  Since there's no filament, LEDs are much cooler and safer to operate.  Made of flameproof plastic, they are shatterproof, and if a bulb does burn out, the string remains lit.

LEDs are rapidly replacing light bulbs and are used in a variety of ways including traffic lights, automobile brake lights and emergency exit signs.  They are constructed from tiny solid-state chips similar to those used in computers.  These chips directly convert electricity without the use of a filament or glass bulb.  

Another way to save energy on the lighting portion of your electric bill is to put holiday lights on a timer so that your home is lit up only for the number of hours you select.  Once you choose your holiday lights, it's important to use them safely:

  • When hanging lights, don't insert nails or tacks through any electric cords.
  • Make sure to keep electrical connectors above ground and away from water since water conducts electricity.
  • Never use lighted candles on trees or decorations, and never leave lighted candles unattended.
  • Remember to keep standard holiday lights away from carpeting, furniture, drapes and other combustible materials.
  • To save energy and for added safety, make sure holiday lights are unplugged before you go to bed or leave home.

For a more detailed cost comparison of holiday lights and additional information on safety, visit and click on Holiday Lighting.  You may also visit the Photo Gallery for images you can use. 

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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 12 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.  For more information on the California electricity market, see