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PG&E advises conservation, fire-safety as holiday lights pop-up across Central Coast

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Rachel Showalter
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Mission Plaza in Downtown San Luis Obispo is decorated with LED lights for the holiday season.

Electricity usage and energy bills typically increase in the winter months as daylight hours decrease, temperature drops and holiday lights go up.

PG&E has a number of tips for conserving electricity and maintaining fire-safety during this time of year.

“We want you to lower your thermostat when you’re away, control your hot water temperature and we always recommend the use of advanced LEDs,” said PG&E Communications Representative Mark Mesesan

Mesesan said using LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, is one of the best ways to reduce energy usage with home holiday decorations, as they use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. He said putting those lights on a timer helps even more.

That’s exactly what Bettina Swigger of Downtown SLO said the nonprofit is doing with the lights in the holiday display at Mission Plaza that was installed last weekend.

“A lot of them are RGB and LED technology, which draw less power from the outlet," Swigger said. "They go on at dusk and then they go off at 10pm which is when the park closes.”

Swigger said Downtown SLO worked with a professional lighting company to ensure the installation would be fire-safe.

Mesesan said fire safety means a lot of things, including not overloading extension cords and outlets.

He said PG&E also wants residents to be aware of their surroundings when climbing ladders or stringing lights on trees.

“Check for overhead power lines," Mesesan said. "Be especially aware of lines over the roof and any lines that are coming into your home service lines.”

Mesesan said it’s also important to make sure any outdoor trees you plan on decorating don’t have limbs growing into power lines as they can become energized.

He said proper indoor Christmas tree placement is also crucial for fire safety.

“Keep your holiday trees away from heat sources like fireplaces or heat vents because the heat will dry out the tree faster and that makes it more susceptible to fires,” Mesesan said.

For more tips about conserving energy and maintaining fire-safety, click here.

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Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020 and now reports daily for KCBX News. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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