The holidays are upon us, and many families are beginning to deck their halls. As more customers begin illuminating their light displays, here are a few simple tips to keep the festive spirit while saving both energy and money.
“During the holidays, there is always an uptick in energy demand, which often translates to higher energy bills,” said Shelly Harmon, manager of energy efficiency at Ameren Missouri. “Opting for energy-efficient decorations and using free tools to monitor your energy usage can help lower your energy bills without sacrificing your holiday spirit.”
Here are some ways to manage your energy bills this holiday season:
1. Opt for LEDs in your lighting displays. Make sure your décor is as energy efficient as possible by using ENERGY STAR® certified lights, which use 75% less energy per strand than incandescent lights. LED holiday lights are available for indoor and outdoor use.
2. Set your timers. Illuminating your holiday display at peak hours when people are most likely to see and enjoy them will significantly reduce your energy consumption compared to leaving your display on all night and day. Programmable timers allow you to easily set your peak holiday display time without having to manually turn your lights on and off each night.
3. Mix in energy-free decorations. Items like wreaths, ribbons and garlands can add beauty to any holiday display without requiring any energy at all. In addition, things like shiny ornaments or tinsel can help magnify the effects of your holiday lighting without adding to your energy bill.
4. Track your energy usage online. Ameren Missouri’s new, interactive Energy Manager dashboard makes it easier than ever to see the trends in your energy usage and make adjustments to lower your overall energy costs. You’ll receive personalized recommendations for lowering your energy bill, and you can even enroll in usage alerts to help you track your costs throughout the month.
5. Adjust your payment due date. Did you know you can adjust your Ameren Missouri payment due date to a time that is most convenient for you? Simply log in to your account at AmerenMissouri.com, go to the Billing Options page and select the Pick A Due Date option on the right side. If you don't have an online account, registering is fast and easy.
This is also an important time to make sure you follow best safety practices when setting up your holiday display. Ameren Missouri reminds all customers to inspect light strands for damage prior to plugging them in, avoid overloading electrical circuits or outlets and keep decorations away from heat sources such as fireplaces and space heaters. Nearly half of decoration fires occur because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.
“In many cases, energy-efficient products feature bonus safety benefits,” said Harmon. “For example, since LED lights stay cool, they pose less of a fire and burn hazard than heat-generating lights such as incandescent bulbs.”