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Pacific Gas and Electric Company Offers Customers a Safe and Better Way to Light Up the Holidays

Release Date: November 27, 2008
Contact: PG&E External Communications (415) 973-5930

SAN FRANCISCO – Thanksgiving Day weekend signals the time when people begin to decorate homes and trees for the holidays. Holiday lights bring joy to the season, but they can also bring hazards and added costs to your energy bill. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) encourages customers to stay safe and save energy this holiday season by offering the following tips.

Holiday Lighting Safety and Energy Efficiency Tips


  • Look up and live! Before stringing outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines. Never place yourself or any object in a position where you or it may come in contact with a power line—the result can be fatal. Look up before raising ladders or other objects. Keep at least 10 feet away from overhead lines.
  • 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.
  • Make sure lights used to decorate the outside of the house are approved for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outdoors.
  • Follow the manufacturer's limits for the number of light strings that can safely be connected together.
  • Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation, or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires. Discard damaged sets of lights.
  • Route cords inside your home so they won't trip anyone. Don't place them 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 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.
  • Purchase energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights. LED lights can reduce energy consumption as much as 90% over traditional holiday lights and can burn brightly for over 100,000 hours.
  • In addition to being shatterproof and shock resistant, LED lights produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and greatly reducing the risk of fire.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California. For more information, please visit www.pge.com.

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