SWEPCO offers holiday electrical safety tips

TEXARKANA — Southwestern Electric Power Co. encourages the public to be mindful of electrical safety while decorating during the holiday season.

SWEPCO offers these seven safety tips:

n Before putting up lights or other outdoor decorations, look up and stay clear of overhead power lines. Keep ladders, lights, tools and yourself at least 10 feet away from power lines.

n Check your tree lights and outdoor lights for damage each year before you use them. Discard lights with frayed wires, loose connections and broken or cracked sockets. Use only lights and extension cords that are safety-certified by a recognized testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

n Select extension cords, lights and other decorations marked appropriately for indoor or outdoor use.

n Avoid overloading wall outlets or extension cords with too many lights and decorations. Connect lights to power strips that have several outlets and a built-in circuit breaker.

n Never run electrical cords under carpets or rugs where daily walking and wear could cause fraying and overheating.

n Outdoor electrical lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

n Turn off all holiday lights when you leave the house or go to bed.

To save energy this holiday season, SWEPCO suggests using LED (light-emitting diode) string lights.

“LED string lighting uses about 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent string lights, which means the cost to light a typical tree with LEDs is about $1 per season,” said Chelsea Adcock, SWEPCO’s consumer programs marketing coordinator.

“LED holiday lights are a bit more expensive upfront than incandescent, but usually pay for themselves with the first year’s energy savings. LED lights generate much less heat and are cool to the touch, which is also a great safety feature, and can last up to 10 years.”