British Columbia

Holiday light displays can hike yuletide costs, BC Hydro warns

He may be cute, but inflatable Santa is one of the worst power-sucking offenders of the Christmas season.

He may be cute, but inflatable Santa is one of the worst power-sucking offenders of the Christmas season

Lighting up the house may boost your festive feels, but it'll also boost your hydro bill. (Christian Abraham/The Associated Press)

BC Hydro is warning homeowners who string up elaborate holiday lighting displays that those decorations can significantly boost power costs.

A new report from the Crown utility says the outdoor lighting load plummeted about 40 per cent by 2011 as LED lights replaced incandescent bulbs, but a trend toward larger displays has increased the load by 15 per cent since then.

BC Hydro says inflatable decorations like this Santa are the worst power offenders because owners often run the fan day and night. (James Young/CBC)

Popular inflatable holiday decorations are among the worst offenders, BC Hydro says, because they are typically run day and night.

The report finds nearly 60 per cent of households put up holiday lighting and one in five of those households uses at least eight strands of lights.

Houses on Trinity Street in East Vancouver, which is known for its fundraising lights display. (CBC)

BC Hydro also estimates that about one-third of lights still in use are energy-gobbling incandescents, and says if the infamous holiday display in the film National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation were made up of incandescent bulbs, it would cost $4,700 to light over the course of the season.

The report says that bill would drop to about $50 if the lights were LED, and it urges customers to switch to the energy-efficient version.


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