With the arrival of the holiday season and festive decorating underway, Puget Sound Energy reminds customers to stay safe and save energy by using Energy Star-rated LED (light emitting diode) decorative holiday lights.
LED lighting uses plastic lenses (instead of glass), making them less likely to break and significantly cooler to the touch, and they can be used indoors and outdoors. In addition, LED lights can reduce energy consumption by as much as 90 percent over traditional holiday lights and can operate for more than 20,000 hours, enough to light up 40 holiday seasons.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that if every household switched to using LED holiday lights, the country would save approximately $410 million in electricity costs. Most major retailers now carry LED holiday lights.
Another way people can brighten the holiday season, PSE suggests, is to consider making donations to or finding ways to help local nonprofit organizations. PSE is donating $22,500 among 43 food banks in more than 15 local communities throughout its service area, including Bellevue, Bellingham, Bremerton, Ellensburg, Kent, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Port Townsend, Poulsbo, Redmond, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, Tacoma and Vashon Island to help them stock their shelves. In addition, PSE employees once again are conducting food drives for community food banks around the region.
PSE is also working with Hopelink to give away free LED light strings to customers who bring $10 or a 10-pound bag of groceries to the PSE/Hopelink booth at select events in King County during the first week of December. Last year, PSE donated more than 3,000 strands of lights to residential customers and community lighting displays throughout Western Washington, saving the region thousands of dollars on electric bills.
In addition to holiday lights, LEDs in the Puget Sound region also are used in traffic signals, highway signs, porch lights and street lights.
PSE offers the following safety tips for decorating a home or business with holiday lights.
• Check for overhead power lines before installing outdoor lights. Make sure ladders, lights and people are at least 15 feet away from overhead power lines.
• Never insert nails, staples or tacks through any electrical wiring.
• Discard light strands with bare wires, worn cords or broken plugs to prevent fires.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the number of light strings that can safely be connected together.
• Never run extension cords under carpets or area rugs. They can overheat or get damaged resulting in a fire.
• Make sure all lights and cords are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approved.
• Turn off all holiday lights before going to bed or leaving home. Save energy by connecting your lights to a timer so they’re only on during the hours you select.
• Only lights designed for outdoor use should be used outdoors.
For more safety tips and a list of retailers in the Puget Sound region carrying LED holiday lights visit
PSE.com or call a PSE Energy Advisor at 800-562-1482.