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More British Columbians getting into the holiday spirit for 2020

A report from BC Hydro said British Columbians are keeping the holiday spirit alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up bigger and brighter displays this year.

According to a BC Hydro report titled “Home for the holidays: British Columbians brightening up with more elaborate holiday displays,” more B.C. residents plan to stay home for the holidays, with about 20% planning to do more indoor and outdoor decorating.

The report was put together on behalf of BC Hydro through an online survey of 803 British Columbians.

About 3% of the provincial electricity load during the holiday season is taken up by elaborate displays. That number is expected to increase this year, as 60% of British Columbians plan to put up exterior lights.

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BC Hydro said there are two groups of people who plan to step up their display this year:

  • The holiday enthusiast: nearly 22% plan to put up eight strands of lights, on average. This represents an almost 10% increase from 2020.
  • The holiday fanatic: almost 10% said they plan to put up 10 strands of lights for a mega display, representing a 3% increase from 2018.

As more elaborate displays become more popular, so do inflatable decorations like blow-up Santas and snowmen. BC Hydro said 15% of outdoor decorators plan to put up three or more inflatables, with 5% planning to have six to 15.

With all of the additional decorations bringing holiday cheer, BC Hydro said the displays could mean higher electricity bills for some.

“About 25% of British Columbians indicated they still use some incandescent lights to decorate, which are up to 90% less energy efficient than LEDs,” said the power company. “Big inflatable decorations can also result in higher than expected bills because they are often run 24/7 and use a lot more power than a strand of LED bulbs.”

To help save money on power bills when it comes to light displays, BC Hydro recommends switching to LEDs, which can last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and save about $40 over the holiday season. Plugging lights into a timer can also help, so lights will be on only when needed.

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