JACKSON, Mich., Dec. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy is reminding customers that displaying decorative lights is a cost-effective way to create a festive atmosphere during the holidays and to keep the season joyful by keeping safety in mind.
"Holiday lights are a very affordable way for our customers to add cheer to businesses and neighborhoods during this special time of year," said Michele Kirkland, Consumers Energy's vice president of energy operations. "Providing affordable energy is our promise to Michigan."
It costs about 7 cents to keep 300 icicle lights on for four hours and about 5 cents to light a Christmas tree with 200 miniature lights for four hours. At 12 cents per night, a month of holiday cheer with these indoor and outdoor decorations costs about $3.60.
Additional savings are found with LED lights which are growing in popularity and use more than 80 percent less electricity than standard light strings. Consumers Energy's Energy Efficiency Program has been offering special pricing for LED holiday lights during December at participating Home Depot, ACO Hardware and Costco stores.Consumers Energy estimates that approximately 6 percent of its December residential and commercial electrical load can be attributed to the holiday season. Electric demand in December increases from businesses and shopping malls, which install special lighting displays and extend shopping hours, as well as for residential holiday lights. The electric load attributed to the holiday season equals 135 gigawatt-hours, enough power to serve a community of approximately 255,000 customers for a week, or to light 1.35 billion 100-watt light bulbs for one hour. Tips from the Michigan Fire Marshal for staying safe during the holidays include:
- Choose a fresh Christmas tree and water it frequently. Place the tree in a stand that will not tip over and keep the tree away from heat sources and exits.
- Keep burning candles away from decorations and other materials that can catch fire. Do not leave children unattended in a room with lighted candles.
- Never leave the stove unattended while cooking, and turn pot handles inward on the stove and out of children's reach.
- Make sure the fireplace flue is open before starting a fire, and never burn wrappings or a Christmas tree in the fireplace.
- Have at least one working smoke alarm on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher handy.