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Delmarva Power Reminds Customers to Stay Safe While Decorating For the Holidays

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SALISBURY, Md.  – A recent house fire in Delaware underscores the need to act safely when decorating for the holidays. The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office says that fire was caused by a non-U-L approved electric candle placed too close to combustibles. 

While holiday lights can lift the spirits of the entire neighborhood, the United States Fire Administration reports that every year fires during the holiday season injure 2,600 people and cause more than $930 million in damage across the country. There are some simple steps to take to greatly reduce the chances of becoming a statistic.
 
While untangling the strings of lights put away last year, customers should inspect them carefully. Look for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets or any other signs of excessive wear before deciding whether the lights are good to use for another season. When putting up an outdoor display, customers should make sure to use only lights and extension cords that are approved for outdoor use and are laboratory tested. 

For customers who believe that when it comes to outdoor holiday decorating, the more the better, remember never to string more than three light sets together unless heavy-duty light sets are used. Also, think about using mini-lights since they don't build up as much heat as larger bulbs.

Customers may also want to consider replacing traditional holiday lighting with LED (light emitting diode) lights, which stay cool to the touch, no matter how long they are left on, and are far more energy efficient and long-lasting than conventional lighting.

“It may be necessary to use a ladder or extension pole to reach to the top of the porch or the top of the wall, but before you set up the ladder or extend the pole, look around to make sure you’re not near any overhead wires,” warns Gary Stockbridge, President, Delmarva Power. “And, while many folks like to have the lights plugged in when they’re being put up, that could be dangerous if you use an aluminum ladder. To be on the safe side, keep those lights unplugged until you have everything in place.”

“Delmarva Power wants to remind all customers to think about safety when decorating, especially when working with or around electricity,” says Stockbridge.

The current issue of “Energy News You Can Use,” arriving with the customer’s December bill, offers additional holiday safety tips.  Further information on being safe around electricity can be found online at www.delmarva.com.   

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Editors Note: refer to Delmarva Power's website (www.delmarva.com) for information on electrical safety, energy saving tips, bill payment options and power outage updates.

Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to more than 500,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and over 118,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.