December 5, 2008

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Dec. 5, 2008 — As the holiday season continues in full swing, Southern California Edison (SCE) is reminding customers how to safely place and maintain holiday lighting and electrical fixtures. 

SCE urges the public to remember the importance of electric safety when stringing indoor and outdoor lighting and using electrically powered animated or inflatable decorations.

Cecil House, SCE senior vice president, safety, operations support and chief procurement officer, reminds customers that safely decorating their homes, work places and Christmas trees with energy-efficient lighting will brighten everyone’s holiday season.

“As the excitement of the season sets in with decorative displays, many people are inadvertently exposed to a greater safety risk of becoming the victim of a fire or electrical accident, such as shock or electrocution,” House said.

Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

  • Keep electrical connections off the ground and away from moisture. Water and electricity are a deadly combination.
  • When hanging lights, make sure staples, tacks and nails do not pierce or pinch wires. Use plastic zip cords instead.
  • Never get closer than 10 feet to power lines. Remember, trees may have power lines running above, near or through them. Do not throw light strands or electrical cords into trees.
  • Do not use lighted candles on trees or decorations. During power outages use flashlights instead of candles.
  • Beware of counterfeit or poor quality electrical products. Use only lighting and cords approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent, nonprofit organization that tests electrical components and equipment for potential hazards.
  • Check all indoor and outdoor decorative lighting for frayed cords, broken wires and loose connections. If you find a problem, throw the strand away.
  • Change bulbs only when the lights are unplugged.
  • Use lights and extension cords designed for outdoor use if placing them outside.
  • Unplug lights when you leave home or go to bed. Use a timer so the lights are on only during the hours you select. This can also help you save energy.
  • Use only three strands of light per electrical cord or outlet. An overload could cause a short circuit and a fire.
  • Keep indoor trees well watered so that they won’t dry out and become fire hazards.
  • Keep lights away from carpeting, furniture, drapes and other combustible materials.

SCE also wants customers to know light emitting diode (LED) lights offer a number of advantages over traditional incandescent lights:

  • Safety:  LEDs generate much less heat when they operate so they are cool to the touch and are less likely to overload a circuit.
  • Energy Efficiency: LEDs save up to 98 percent of the electricity that is needed to power conventional incandescent, painted or ceramic-coated bulbs.
  • Longevity:  LEDs are much more sturdy and last up to 20 times longer than incandescent holiday light strings.

For more information, visit and click on “Safety.”

Media Contact: Paul Klein, (626) 302-2255

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is the largest electric utility in California, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.8 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.