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December 8, 2009

ROANOKE, Va., December 8, 2009 – The tradition of holiday decorating is considered a fun and festive way to celebrate the season and, if you follow a little advice from Appalachian Power, choosing the right lights to deck the halls can save money on your power bill in Virginia.  
Appalachian Power customers can recognize significant savings in their power bill by switching to Light Emitting Diode (LED) decorative lights, which are available in many styles and colors and have grown in popularity over ordinary incandescent or standard C-7 lights. LED lights 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 tend to be more expensive than regular incandescent lights, but they use about 90 percent less electricity.
Holiday lighting has definitely evolved over the past few years, and there is a great variety of energy saving lighting options now available,” said Jeri Matheney, Appalachian Power corporate communications manager. “We want our customers to explore what’s available, and choose what’s best for them but keep in mind how they can also conserve energy this season and save a few dollars.”
Appalachian customers in Virginia could operate a set of LED lights consuming only five watts for the entire 150-hour holiday season for about nine cents. According to the Department of Energy, if every household switched to using LED holiday lights the country would save approximately $410 million in electricity costs.
Incandescent mini-lights have traditionally been the most common type of decorative lighting. Operating one 100-bulb strand of 1-watt bulbs would consume 100 watts of electricity at a rate of about 1.2 cents per hour. If the bulbs are on five hours a day for 30 days over the holidays, or 150 hours, it will cost about $1.75.
Seasonal lighting costs really begin to add up if you use larger, screw-in type 7-watt incandescent bulbs. They cost about 8.1 cents per hour to operate. Using the 150-hour example, using these bulbs would cost $12.16 in electricity over the holidays.

Type of Light
Cost per kwh
Hourly cost to operate
X 150 hours
Seasonal cost
100 light, LED
5 watts
11.58 cents
.0058 cents
150 hours
100 light
100 watts
11.58 cents
1.158 cents
150 hours
100 light incandescent
700 watts
11.58 cents
8.106 cents
150 hours
Cost per kilowatt-hour is based on estimated Virginia rates as of Dec. 12, 2009
Although Appalachian Power customers pay some of the lowest electric rates in the nation, the cost to produce electricity has increased over the past several years and consumers are using more. The company encourages its customers to take charge of their energy usage by finding simple ways to conserve without jeopardizing a comfortable lifestyle. Appalachian Power has a consumer education program which includes a website (wattwhyandhow.com) where there are dozens of energy saving ideas similar to the holiday lighting advice.
Safety Reminders
It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday rush and neglect critical steps that ensure your safety and the safety of others. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International nearly 130,000 fires will be reported in December alone, causing more than 400 deaths and 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.
  • Unplug indoor lights when you go to bed.
Appalachian Power has almost 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to 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. 


John Shepelwich
Corporate Communications Manager


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