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Phoenix residents urged to stay energy-wise during the holidays

[Source: Energy Department, Arizona Department of Commerce] — Phoenix residents are encouraged to stay energy-wise during the holidays as they gear up to decorate homes, offices, yards, and other areas with cheerful lights and electric displays of joy.  While Arizonans have become more mindful of their power usage and follow advice to save energy by disconnecting appliances or devices when not in use, it is not always as easy to remember to do so with holiday displays and lights, which can pull in significant amounts of electricity.

Ten strings of 100 mini-lights that are on for ten hours per day can add anywhere from $11 to nearly $16 a month to an electric bill, depending on which utility provides service.  Larger bulbs can add up to ten times as much or even more; however, using LED lights can cost anywhere from $1.20 to $3 a month, saving a considerable amount of electricity and money.

Utility companies statewide are making LED vs. standard holiday light calculators available online, and providing incentives to consumers to make the switch to LED lights and decorations:

LEDs are available at most department, hardware, grocery, and do-it-yourself stores.  They cost more, but last up to ten years and will pay for themselves in the long run when properly maintained from season to season.  In the meantime, residents who are not ready to transition to low-energy décor can place lights on timers to ensure they automatically turn off after a few hours; consider placing outdoor lights and displays on photo-sensor devices or outdoor-approved timers so they remain on only in the dark; for small areas, look into using rechargeable battery-operated devices.

New Arizona Corporation Commission to face tough issues

[Source: Ryan Randazzo, Arizona Republic] — If you make monthly payments to Arizona Public Service Co., Tucson Electric Power Co., a small Arizona water provider or other regulated utility, you have three new public servants watching over those companies for you.  Unofficial results from the Nov. 4 election show Democrats Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy and Republican Bob Stump will join two Republicans remaining on the Arizona Corporation Commission.  The regulators will tackle consumer issues such as a pending rate hike from APS in 2009 and for the first time in a decade have Democrats at the table.  In addition to regulating utility rates, the Corporation Commission oversees telecommunications issues and securities fraud and has jurisdiction over railroad crossings.

Kennedy’s first steps will include working with state lawmakers in an attempt to save energy and money by moving the commission to a four-day workweek, she said.  “I’d also like to see the Corporation Commission seriously look at how utility companies can help seniors,” she said Thursday.  “We’re at a time when their income is not what it used to be.  Are they showing the aged and low-income consumers how to effectively utilize energy efficiency?”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]