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Large Griswold-style holiday light displays increasing power use and costs in B.C.

With less than a month until Christmas, residents are putting up their lights and decorations around the province.

BC Hydro says more elaborate holiday displays have increased the province’s power load from electronic decorations and lights by about 15 per cent since 2012.

A report titled “Grinch to Griswold” revealed power use from outdoor lighting dropped about 40 per cent by 2011 because of LED lights, which use 90 per cent less energy. Since then power use has increased due to more complex outdoor displays with more lights and inflatable decorations.

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Lighting these elaborate displays with older, incandescent bulbs is expensive. BC Hydro says British Columbians can save around $40 over the holiday season by switching eight strands of incandescent lights to energy-efficient LEDs.

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The report notes that 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.

A BC Hydro survey found that 57 per cent of British Columbians put up outdoor holiday lights ranging in different levels of decorating enthusiasm:

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

WATCH:  Don’t be like Clark Griswold when putting up lights

WorkSafeBC is reminding the public to take the precautions to ensure safety when using ladders to decorate this holiday season.

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“Falls from ladders are a serious safety concern in B.C. particularly at this time of year when wind, rain and snow pose hazards,” said Jessica Berglund, senior manager of prevention field services with WorkSafeBC.

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WorkSafeBC offers these tips on using ladders safely:

-Select the right ladder for the job and ensure it is long enough to extend one metre above the upper landing.
-Place the ladder on a firm, level surface and inspect it before each use to ensure it’s in good working condition, looking for cracks or loose rungs.
-Maintain three points of contact while climbing a ladder: two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot.
-Don’t work from the top two rungs of the ladder or have more than one worker on a ladder at once.
-Don’t carry heavy or bulky objects while climbing up or down a ladder.
-Wind, rain, and snow may pose hazards that need to be addressed.
-Check for power lines and ensure a minimum distance of three metres can be maintained at all times before starting work.