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SCE&G is offering a list of easy, comprehensive tips on how to be eco-friendly and save on your energy bill this holiday season.

It's the time of year to break out the strings of Christmas lights, decorations, and light-up displays, but all this festiveness can come at the cost of a high energy bill.

To keep your energy bill affordable into the new year, SCE&G has some tips on how to be energy efficient this holiday season.

“Energy usage typically increases this time of year with many people decorating their homes with light strands, entertaining guests and cooking holiday meals,” said Ginger Greenway, manager of energy information services for SCE&G, in a press release. “The greatest gift we can give our customers is educating them on the many opportunities they have to be efficient with their seasonal energy use and to be safe while doing so.”

To conserve energy and to keep electrical accidents from happening, SCE&G has four main tips for people to follow.

First, reduce usage. It may take less effort to leave the lights on 24/7, but no one is going to notice them in broad daylight, and not turning the lights off not only runs up your electric bill, but also wears down the light bulbs in your decorations. To make decorations last longer and to conserve energy, turn on displays when it gets dark, or when they will be most appreciated.

Decorators should buy LED lights. ENERGY STAR Qualified LED lighting is eco-friendly, lasts longer, and uses 70 percent less energy. According to the press release, they look "cooler" than non-LED lighting, too.

Whatever you do, don't overload electric circuits by plugging in too many decorations. Check fuses or circuit breaker panels and stay well within the limits of your residence. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, according to the press release.

Lastly, a common sense tip: plan your layout. Holidays can be hectic, and the last thing people need is to be tripping over extension cords. SCE&G recommends not running them under rugs, across doorways, or around furniture legs, especially if there are pets of children in the residence.

SCE&G also offers additional tips for parties. If you are cooking or having a lot or people in your residence, it can be a good idea to turn the thermostat down to stay in a comfortable temperature. Use the oven window to check a dish whenever possible, as opening the door can cause internal temperature to drop by 25 degrees, making your oven work harder and your food take longer to cook.

For more energy-saving tips, visit sceg.com/energytips. Additional safety tips may be found on the Electrical Safety Foundation International website, esfi.org.

Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.