November 27, 2001

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 27, 2001-Southern California Edison (SCE) encourages its customers to help make this holiday season a bright and safe one by following some guidelines for electricity conservation and safety.

Although the California Independent System Operator indicates that the state has sufficient power supplies to meet holiday needs, SCE suggests that conservation is always in season.  This year, conservation has a direct personal benefit because of the rate increase enacted last spring by the California Public Utilities Commission.

SCE recommends using energy-efficient holiday lighting products.  As the following table illustrates, miniature light strands use energy more efficiently than do other types of bulbs.

Type of light

Bulbs per strand

KWh* per strand per day (5 hrs)

Cost per strand for 30 days

Icicle light strands 150 (1.9 watts each) 1.440/kWh $5.60 to $11.20
Regular outside strands 20 (7.0 watts each) .700/kWh $2.75 to $5.50
Regular tree lights 25 (5.0 watts each) .625/kWh $2.45 to $4.90
Midget "twinkle" strands 50 (2.0 watts each) .500/kWh $1.95 to $3.90
Energy-saver miniature lights 50 (0.4 watts each) .090/kWh $.35 to $.70

Actual costs depend on the total consumption and rate tier into which customers fall.
* Kilowatt-hour or 1,000 watts used for one hour.

In addition, SCE reminds its customers that safety should be their highest decorating priority.  The utility offers the following safety tips:

  • When installing holiday lighting, avoid overloading a single wall outlet or extension cord.  Overloading could cause an electric circuit to fail or start a fire.
  • Make sure lights are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed.  The UL certification is recognized worldwide as a standard for product safety and quality.
  • While unpacking holiday light strands, check them for broken sockets, frayed cords and loose connections.  If these conditions are found, replace the strands with new ones.
  • Connect no more than three sets of lights to a single extension cord.
  • Do not change bulbs or fuses while light sets are plugged in.
  • Keep holiday lights away from carpeting, furniture, drapes, and other combustible materials.
  • To prevent an organic holiday tree from becoming a fire hazard, check the water level daily.  A newly cut tree can absorb a gallon or more of water per day.
  • When hanging outdoor lights, do not push tacks through any electric cords.
  • Only lights designed for outdoor use should be used outside the home.
  • Keep electrical connections off the ground and away from standing water.
  • For added safety, make sure holiday lights are unplugged before you go to bed or leave home.

SCE reminds customers planning to operate portable generators this holiday season of these additional safety guidelines:

  • Install and use generators according to electrical codes and manufacturers' instructions.
  • Always operate generators in well-ventilated areas.
  • When plugging appliances directly into a temporary generator, carefully follow instructions.
  • Never attempt to connect a generator directly to house wiring or to a utility line.

State law requires that customers notify utilities if they have a portable generator that can be connected to their electrical wiring.  To notify SCE, call (800) 655-4555 and ask for an Electric Generator Notification Card.

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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 11 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.