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Tiffany Spence

About "Ask the Energy Expert"

Tiffany Spence is an energy expert at Florida Power & Light Company. She’s conducted thousands of energy audits at homes and businesses, helping customers find new ways to make their bills even lower.

Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here

Don’t let those decorations leave you crying “Bah humbug!”

By Tiffany Spence

Asked on: October 26, 2016 by Rebecca P., Sarasota

How much can I expect my energy bill to go up in December with all the holiday decorations?

Hi Rebecca, as we approach the holiday season, it’s definitely a good idea to understand how much your decorations may impact your energy usage and bill. A number of things will influence your energy bill, such as how elaborate of a display you have, and the number of lights and choice of bulbs – incandescent or LED.  

Did you know that a 100-count string of incandescent mini lights runs at 40 watts, while a 70-count of 5mm LEDs is approximately 4.8 watts total? That means that the cost to power incandescent lights can be up to 90-times greater than powering LEDs. And, LED lights use about one-tenth the energy of old-fashion incandescent lights. Now, it’s true that LEDs are more costly upfront, but they may actually save you money in the long run. However, I wouldn’t recommend getting rid of all your incandescent lights all at once; wait until they don’t work anymore and then upgrade to LEDs. Unless of course, you’re interested in decking your halls like Clark Griswold, then I would definitely recommend using LEDs.

Calculate your holiday lighting energy usage
To find out the total watts you’ll be using, see the calculations below for a quick estimate:

  • Watts per bulb x number of bulbs on the string = total watts per string
  • Multiple total watts per string x how many strings of lights = total watts

Once you have an idea about many total watts you’ll be using:

  1. Multiply total watts by 0.001 to find the kilo-watt hour (kwh) = kwh
  2. Multiply kwh by 5 hours a day to find kwh per day = kwh/day
  3. Multiply kwh/day by 30 days = kwh/month
  4. Multiply kwh/month by the current FPL cost per kilo-watt of .113 cents = ESTIMATED COST

Now, that’s your cost based running your holiday display five hours per day for 30 days. Of course, you can control this cost by when you choose to put up your lights, how many strings you use and how long you have them on each evening is up to you and your budget. But, at least you can estimate how much it may add to your bill.

Have you ever wanted to put a giant inflatable reindeer or snowman in your yard?
As for those fun inflatable decorations that have become very popular in recent years, typical inflatables can cost anywhere from $2 - $9 a month, depending on the size, whether it’s animated or not, and how long you have it inflated each day.

Easy tips to help you save:

  1. Buy LEDs – they are more expensive up front, but you’ll save on energy costs in the future. Plus, they don’t radiate heat like incandescent bulbs, making them safer to people and other potentially combustible decorations.
  2. Use automatic timers –to ensure you’re running the lights or inflatable’s for a defined time period each day – fewer hours means less energy used.
  3. Use extension cords – instead of using light strings to add length to your display, utilize extension cords in less visible areas
  4. Be creative – supplement your holiday displays with ornaments such as wreaths, ribbons and other decorations that don't consume energy.

And most importantly, enjoy the holidays!


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Comments [40]

  1. janet granlund

    Continue to save me money

  2. JB

    I have 2 questions just to get an idea how much it costs to cook at home. 1. How much does it cost on average to heat something 1 minute in the microwave? How much does it cost on average to use the crockpot on low for an hour? Do I just multiply that answer by the numbers of hours I cook?

  3. Mary H.

    Hello Tiffany,

    So, upon our arrival here in Fl. a year ago today, our FPL bill take a $20.00 increase each month. We’ve since made some drastic changes. NO AC at all during the day and set on Auto 78 degrees at night. Cold water only for laundry and cleaning. And set dryer to stop when clothing are dried. We’ve Unplugged everything that is not in use except the fridge. We expect to see a decrease in our next bill. Is there anything else we can do? We are both permanently disable and on strict fixed income. Our only joy is to watch TV. We have switched to LED lights for security outside; no lights at all inside as we head to bed at 8pm.

    Please advise if there’s something else we can do.
    Nowhere else to turn.

  4. Russell Wheeler

    By turning lights off and on does it make my bill higher

  5. charles brown

    make your bill lower

  6. Linda

    Thank you for educating the community.

  7. Patricia Bond

    Thanks for the useful information.

  8. Ursula Guzi

    Great article! Thanks :-)

  9. Ann White

    You are the BEST!

  10. Charles C Whittington

    I like the blog.

    C. Whittington

  11. Bob Berner

    I never signed up &/or approved tha $9.00 pm “voluntary Solar . . I can not afford ir, I want that money returned ! I will file a complaint in Tallahassee if my money is not returned ! NOW my bill is the 1st time that I ever owed you money !

  12. Richard

    I live in a five floor condo in Pompano. I would like to have an electric car. Can you install a power output beside my parking space (which is near the building) and associated extra meter??

  13. Richard

    I live in a 5 floor condo in Pompano. I would like to have an electric car. Can you install a meter and power point beside my parking spot (which is close to the building)?

  14. Jeffrey Natrop

    I was walking in Olde Naples and I noticed a large FPL electrical enclosure that appeared to have colored pictures of plant life laminated to the metal covers. I think it was on 3rd St and 5th Ave. Do you know where I can find this product.

  15. Steven Dewey

    What is wrong with FPL that the power flickers off at least once a month? It’s cause disruptions in internet, phone, and cable subscriptions. I have live in several states and this is the first one with such unreliable electric power.

    What is wrong with you?

  16. Marilyn

    How much energy do u use if tv left on night and day?

  17. John

    I would like to set up a monthly budget payment starting with Dec bill.
    We have cut air cond useage by 50% and cut pool pump on time by 30% and are in the process of installing a new water heater.
    Not planning to use pool heater that came with the house. We have a solar pool cover.
    We are full time and do not expect much company this winter.
    Can you estimate budget (12 month payments) based upon our limited time in residence?
    Thank you,

  18. Naomie Laguerre

    I’m not going to use any Christmas light decoration I’m not going to use that don’t put my bill up for nothing

  19. Phyllis Turner

    Whatever happened to the spot one could click on to indicate making a gift to your account to help low-income folks with their power bills? I can’t find anyplace to make an online gift.

  20. Larry S Ashby

    Why is the voltage on Palm Beach so low? 106V line to neutral and 196-202v line to line? We are losing 1ph. pump motors because of this. And its not doing our lighting system any good.

  21. Trinidad palacio

    No to happy wist my Bill to high

  22. RICHARD Y.

    i am a snowbird. Actually, I am less than a snowbird. The most I have been down was 6 to 8 weeks. It appears that my energy bill has hore than doubled in the last year. The months that i was there i expected the bill to be higher. When i compared an actual bill (about $30) when no one was there to this year when nobody was still not there, I am looking at $67. Did the rates go up? The only things that are left on are the AC and the refrigerator. I unplugged the tv’s, and other electric appliances that have clocks. (microwave, clock radio, etc)

  23. John Arenstam

    Can you tell me when FP&L will do the final inspection of my solar panel system and turn the system on? It has now been almost two weeks and I have not heard anything from FP & L. Please Help. Thanks,

  24. John Arenstam

    Can you tell me when FP&L will do the final inspection of my solar panel system and turn the system on? It has now been almost two weeks and I have not heard anything from FP & L. Please Help. Thanks,


  25. MARIA


  26. MARIA


  27. Ruben

    My home has R30 insulation in the attic I was planning on adding another layer of if but this time crossing it making like a t. Should I add more or not. Should I add R19 or more R30? I was visiting a friend on mine it Dallas and he has a lot more than R30 in his attic. Will it help adding more or is it not worth the money or the trouble?


  28. Kysha

    Trying to figure out why is my bill so high when I’m in a two bedroom apartment and it’s only the two of us. My neighbor has a three bedroom house with five people and a pool that always running and her bill is much cheaper.

  29. G Kiser

    Don’t usually read blogs.

  30. Gunnar Peters

    Good Afternoon, I just bought a condo in Boynton Beach. I was recommended by my agent. I’m looking for a short term energy deal. Preferably 3-4 months while fixing and flipping.

    Looking forward to hearing from someone soon.

  31. Ardith Evans

    Thinking of moving to Vero Beach, outside city. Average price of 2200 sq ft home with AC and pool filter? In NY our yearly cost is $2005.15

  32. Inez wilt

    I am moving and need the electric turned on in my new home. ButI need the electric left on in my existing home how do I go about that?

  33. Kathleen

    What should my thermostat and humidity be set at when we are not they in the months of Nov through May ?

  34. Julio Valencia

    Good morning,
    Ichanged my whole AC unit on September the fourth, the company told me I should see a decrease on my electrical bill by f around 40 to 50 dollars. I’m looking at my bill and it hasn’t decreased at all. The company who sold me the AC told me that this was an high energy efficiency unit.
    Why hasn’t my bill gone down?
    Thank you.

  35. Walter E Miedel

    I’m trying to pay my bill on line and I have a new card and the account took it without giving me a place to change it . So it will be going to a closed account .witch I don’t want to be billed for and a late fee

  36. Steve Jensen

    Who do I contact regarding concerns over my bill. My neighbors bill is around $130 and mine is $250, how can this be. We have similar houses and appliances. Nothing differs from the ordinary run of a household.

  37. Barbara Pickering

    How do I speak with a REAL person? or email FPL customer service without signing in? I do not have a US SIN no. (I’m Canadian) and cannot pay my bill in the usual manner because of your new phone procedure. Please help.

  38. Priscilla Bugari

    How or where do I request an outside light on my utility pole?

  39. Priscilla Bugari

    How do I request an outside light on my utility pole?

  40. Denise

    I would like to know why the code in Florida allows the street lights to be fiber glass poles that are only buried 12- 15 inches in sandy soil.
    they are not in cement or cemented and anchored into a metal plate. If we had been hit by the last hurricane or had more than 40mph winds these poles would have been on cars and driveways all over Marina Bay.
    One did fall down and several are not straight upright.
    Can someone explain the code and reasoning?
    I am told this is standard in the Gateway area.


FPL reserves the right to edit any user submissions to "Ask the Energy Expert" for brevity or clarity. Publication of readers' questions or comments is at the sole discretion of FPL.