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Elaborate holiday displays increase Provinces power load

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A recent report by BC Hydro has recognized an increase in power usage as people’s outdoor displays grow and become more elaborate.

Hydro took a light approach to the report titled  “From Grinch to Griswold: Trend toward bigger holiday displays increasing electricity bills”  the report has found that with the increase of electronic decorations and lights, power usage has increased by about 15 percent since 2012.

The report recognized a 40 percent drop in outdoor lighting load because of the use of LED’s which use 90 percent less energy, yet the increase comes from the more involved displays.

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A survey commissioned by BC Hydro identified one in three British Columbians have a neighbour with what Hydro deems a mega display. The following facts were also disclosed about decorating enthusiasts:

  • Installing inflatable holiday decorations: these decorations have become increasingly popular over the past decade, and add to costs because they are typically run 24/7 and use a lot more power than a strand of LED bulbs.
  • Using lots of lights and electronics: four percent said they install more than 750 lights each year, and this number can climb to over 100,000 lights for the biggest displays.
  • Pushing the limits: 15 percent admit to blowing a breaker switch from overloading their lights and decorations.

Hydro points out lighting mega displays with older, incandescent bulbs are very costly. This quote from Hydro shares, ‘Clark Griswold’s infamous holiday display in the film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation would have cost him around $4,700 during the holiday season using incandescent lights, compared to the $50 it would have cost if it was lit by LEDs.’

The survey also identified there are different levels of decorating enthusiasts out of the 57 percent of British Columbians that partake in hanging up seasonal lights.

  • The Grinch (42 percent): no holiday lights, no added cost.
  • The holiday minimalist (38 percent): three strands of lights, on average.
  • The holiday enthusiast (13 percent): eight strands of lights, on average.
  • The holiday fanatic – also known as ‘The Griswold’ (6 percent): at least 10 strands of lights, and often much more to light up the entire block.

With most residents of B.C. partaking in the tradition of hanging outdoor lights, Hydro would like to remind people that they can save around $40 over the holiday season by switching eight strands of incandescent lights to energy-efficient LEDs.

Switching to LED holiday lights is financially rewarding yet they also last longer. LED lights are available in a wide range of colours and a variety of shapes and sizes.

For more tips on saving energy, visit bchydro.com.

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