Holiday Lights – Expensive Spike in Electric Bill?

Electricity usage is charged by the kilowatt-hour and lights carry a certain wattage.


  • Energy companies say to watch out for wasted energy or “phantom loads” during the holiday season.
  • To cut back on costs and save energy, companies recommend using LED lights and timers.
  • And don’t forget to turn the decorations off before bed!

Christmas is approaching, which means families are getting their Clark Griswold on and lining their yards with thousands of lights, inflatable Santas and illuminated candy canes.

But with holiday cheer and decor comes an increase in energy usage, including phantom loads, also known as vampire loads or wasted energy.

If Christmas enthusiasts light their decorations from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, here’s how much your bill could jump per month, according to a Southern California Edison spokesperson:

  • Average decorations with LED lights: $5 to $7 increase
  • Average decorations with incandescent lights: $33 increase
  • Elaborate decorations using LED lights: $47 increase
  • Elaborate decorations using incandescent lights: $350 increase