News Releases

Be Energy Efficient and Safe for the Holidays

Dec 7, 2007

Media Contact: Karl Walquist, (775) 834-3891

Have a bright, cheery holiday season that's filled with joy yet safe and energy efficient. That's the advice from Sierra Pacific Power's energy efficiency expert Larry Rackley, who recommends using LED (light emitting diode) lights on your tree or on the outside of your house.

"LED holiday lights cost more than traditional incandescent lights but they use a fraction of the energy and last years longer,"said Rackley."In addition, they're nearly unbreakable and they always remain cool to the touch and there are more choices for LED lights than there were in the past."

Besides using LED lights, you can be more energy efficient by using automatic timers to switch off lights in case you forget.

Unless you string thousands of lights around your home, holiday lights -- LEDs  or incandescent bulbs -- are not likely to increase your electric bill significantly. A typical 6-foot tall tree requires about 200 standard miniature lights, Rackley said. Assuming those lights are operating five hours per day for a month, they will add approximately $2 to your monthly electric bill. 

Rackley also offered the following holiday lighting safety tips:

* For the outdoors, use only lights and extension cords labeled as safe for outdoor use.
* Use one long extension cord instead of linking shorter cords together.
* Keep ladders away from overhead power lines.
* Avoid stapling or nailing electrical cords because it may damage insulation.
* To prevent falls, keep extension cords off walkways, and don't run cords under rugs, through doorways or near furniture where they might be stepped on or tripped over.
* Don't place cords around or near metal pipes, or anything that is damp and metallic.
* When stringing lights, always unplug the cord first.
* Don't overload an electrical outlet with too many lights. Overloading can cause overheating and lead to a fire.
* Make sure outdoor electrical outlets have shock-protecting, ground fault circuit interrupters, especially around metallic and wet surfaces. 

For more electrical safety tips, visit Sierra Pacific's website at