KISSIMMEE, Fla., December 2, 3:30 p.m. – The annual ritual of stringing up holiday lights around homes and businesses throughout Osceola County is estimated to increase the appetite for electric power by at least 10 percent this month, the Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) reported Thursday.
An average home using 10 strands of standard holiday lights consumes 750 watts of electricity per hour. Each string normally uses 75 watts of juice, according to data provided by the American Public Power Association in Washington, D.C. Typically, holiday lights are illuminated about five hours a day, for roughly a 30-day holiday season.
In Kissimmee, holiday lighting is expected to add about $9.74 to the January power bill of the average home displaying 10 strands of lights, said Chris Gent, KUA’s manager of corporate communications. “For homes using more than 10 strings of lights, or homes using older, less efficient lights, the power costs could be higher,” Gent added.
KUA reminds customers to exercise caution and keep safety in mind when stringing holiday lights:
* Look for the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) Mark on light strings, electrical decorations and extension cords. The UL Mark means that UL engineers have tested representative samples of the product for foreseeable safety hazards such as fire and electric shock.
* Ensure lights, decorations and extension cords are rated for outside use. Lights intended for indoor-only use bear green UL Marks. Light strings intended for indoor and outdoor use bear red UL Marks.
* Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for electrical decorations.
* Carefully inspect each electrical decoration – new or old – before plugging it in. Cracked sockets or frayed, bare or loose wires can cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new decorations.
* Don’t use staples or nails to hang light strings. Instead, purchase hooks or clips designed for hanging light strings.
* Check packaging to determine the maximum number of strings that may be connected or use this rule of thumb: Connect a maximum of three midget light strings (push-in bulbs) or up to 50 bulbs of light strings with the screw-in bulbs (C7s and C9s).
* Don’t overload extension cords by plugging in too many decorations.
* Turn off all electrical lights and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
KUA and its 300 employees wish all of its customers a safe and happy holiday season.
Founded in 1901, KUA is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric, water and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties. Visit www.kua.com for more information.
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Chris M. Gent
(407) 933-7777 x 1116