As Christmas displays get bigger and widespread in B.C. during pandemic, so do hydro bills | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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As Christmas displays get bigger and widespread in B.C. during pandemic, so do hydro bills

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November 24, 2020 - 8:55 AM

COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are causing a surge in Christmas decorating activity amongst British Columbians.

A recent B.C. Hydro survey found more than 90 per cent of British Columbians feel COVID-19 will impact holiday celebrations, with many planning to be home more.

The survey also found 20 per cent plan to do more decorating indoors and outdoors this year, which could result in higher than anticipated electricity bills.

Holiday decorating normally accounts for about three per cent of the province’s electrical load during the holidays, and that number could grow this year, the utility says in a release issued today, Nov. 24.

In British Columbia, 60 per cent of residents plan to put up outdoor lights this year, with 22 per cent putting up an average of eight strands.

Then there's what B.C. Hydro refers to as the "holiday fanatic" the ten per cent who put up more than 10 strands, making for a Clark Griswold-type of mega display. The utility says this type of decorating is up more than three per cent since 2018.

Inflatable displays are also on the rise, with 15 per cent of residents putting up three or more inflatable decorations, and five per cent putting up between six and 15 decorations.

Twenty-five per cent of British Columbians still use at least some incandescent bulbs, which are 90 per cent less energy efficient than LED bulbs, while big inflatable displays running 24 hours a day, seven days a week also use more power than a strand of LED bulbs.

B.C. Hydro says residents can cut their holiday decorating power costs by:

  • Switching to LEDs. Consumers can save $40 over the holiday season by switching eight strands of incandescent bulbs to LEDs, which also last 10 times longer.
  • Plugging into timers or using smart plugs to manage electricity use.
  • Using MyHydro, with can be accessed from a mobile device or at bchydro.com.

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