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Central Maine Power offers holiday lighting safety and efficiency tips

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AUGUSTA -- Central Maine Power Company (CMP), a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, is urging its customers to follow some simple electrical safety and energy-saving tips so they can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

In addition to testing smoke detectors and planning emergency fire escape routes for your family, people should keep the following safety tips in mind:

Safety

The combination of dried Christmas tree limbs and hot lights can be dangerous, so if you have a live tree, be sure to keep it fresh. Before you put the tree in its stand, cut its base at a 45-degree angle so it can absorb water. Water the tree liberally the average tree can consume between a quart and a gallon of water a day. Remove the tree promptly after the holiday or when it becomes dry.

Decorate the tree with miniature lights. They produce much less heat and reduce the drying effect on the tree.

Only use lights and cords that have been factory tested. Check for the UL label on the packaging.

Carefully inspect light cords, plugs and receptacles for worn or frayed insulation and loose connections. Throw away damaged items.

Don't overload electrical circuits or extension cords. Follow the directions on cord labels regarding connecting lights strings and extension cords. Make sure the cords are out of the way so that nobody trips over them.

Keep flammable decorations away from the tree's lights. Also make sure that electric window candles do not touch drapes or other flammable objects.

Keep wires away from toddlers. Push wires toward the center of the tree, and clip them securely to the branches.

Never use electric lights on metallic trees. Avoid using plastic trees unless they're flame resistant.

Always turn holiday lights off before going to sleep and when you leave home.

For outside use, use only outdoor-approved lights that can withstand cold temperatures.

While decorating the outside of your home, never raise ladders, poles or other extended objects into or near power lines. If you are decorating an outside tree, check to make sure that its limbs aren't near power lines. Remember that no power line is safe to touch, ever.

Replace the battery in your smoke detector.

Energy Efficiency

LED lights are highly efficient and use a small fraction of the energy of an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. For example, the amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs (two 24-foot strings).

Use a programmable timer to turn lighting displays on and off; unplug lights when you leave home or go to bed.

Turn decorations on only after dark.

CMP wishes its customers a safe and happy holiday season.

Follow CMP on Twitter and Facebook.

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