Make Decorating with Holiday Lights Safe, Efficient and Fun

SACRAMENTO, Calif. November 20, 2017 – Every Thanksgiving, after the turkey has been devoured and families settle down for an evening of parades and football, many people begin to think about how they’ll decorate their homes and businesses for the holiday season. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) reminds customers that while holiday lighting truly adds to the season, it can also significantly increase the potential for fire risk, injury and electric shock if the proper precautions aren’t followed while decorating.  Adding to possible safety risks, older, non-energy-efficient lighting can severely impact customers’ power bills.

“Brightening our communities with holiday lights is a great tradition, but we need everyone to be aware of their surroundings to avoid electric hazards and to prevent fires. Our safety tips are simple to follow and help make sure everyone has a safe and joyful holiday,” said Dave Meier, senior manager of PG&E’s Sacramento, Sierra, Stockton and Yosemite divisions.

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To ensure that customers remain safe throughout the holiday, PG&E offers the following safety tips that customers can use as they decorate for the season:

Use LED Holiday Lights

  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights consume 75% less energy than traditional incandescent lights, helping customers save money on their power bills during the holiday season
  • LED lights produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and greatly reducing the risk of fire
  • LED lights are also break resistant and shock resistant

Avoid Electric Hazards

  • Look up and live! Before climbing ladders to string outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines nearby. Be especially aware of lines over your roof and lines attached to your home. Look up before raising ladders and other tall objects. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines at all times
  • Never place yourself or any object such as a string of lights in a position that risks contact with a power line—the result can be fatal
  • Before stringing lights on outdoor trees, make sure tree limbs haven’t grown into or near power lines. Branches, entire trees and even the ground adjacent to a tree can become energized when trees contact power lines

Prevent Fire Hazards

  • Avoid overloading extension cords and wall sockets by follow the manufacturer’s limits for the number of light strings that can be safely connected together
  • Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires, so discard damaged sets of lights
  • Don’t place cords under rugs, furniture or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed, increasing the risk of fire
  • Always turn off decorative lights—indoors and outdoors—when leaving the house and before going to bed
  • Do not place your holiday tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame or sparks