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Duke Energy offers energy-saving, safety holiday tips

Holiday lights can be bright and festive but they can also increase winter electric bills.

To understand how much the increased cost could be Duke Energy has a added a holiday lighting energy calculator to its website:

“Lighting displays are part of the timeless holiday decorating tradition,” said Gayle Lanier, Duke Energy senior vice president of customer services. “However, elaborate lighting displays can add significant costs to your energy bill. Estimate your energy costs before decorating and incorporate efficient, budget-friendly lighting options to save money during the holiday season.”

Users can identify the type of lights, the number of 100-bulb strands and how many hours the lights will be used per day to estimate the energy cost per day and per month.

The site also has energy-efficient tips and options such as six 100-bulb sets of large, incandescent bulbs – 600 bulbs total – plugged in six hours every evening can add as much as $80 to a monthly power bill.

Six 100-bulb sets of similarly styled light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs would increase a monthly power bill by about $7. Using six 100-bulb sets of mini-LED bulbs would increase a monthly power bill by only $1.

Holiday safety tips include:

• Before installing lights, check each set – new and old – for damaged sockets, loose connections and frayed or bare wires. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

• Never use more than three standard-sized sets of lights per extension cord.

• Plug exterior lights into ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets only. If the home lacks outside GFCI outlets, call an electrician to install them.

• Before climbing a ladder, inspect it to ensure it’s in good working condition and follow the weight limits specified on the ladder. Ladders that lean against a wall or other support should be angled so the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about one-quarter the working length of the ladder. Never use a ladder for any purpose other than the one for which it’s designed.

• Never use a ladder on or near power lines.

Business News

Jamie Blakeney, a Lancaster native, is joining the Erica Homes, LLC team. Blakeney has a bachelor’s degree from Francis Marion University in biology. Erica Homes, at 1171 Market St. #213 in Fort Mill, was established in 2011 and has 20 associates. For more information on Erica Homes visit

•  The

Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce

and its Small Business Council, along with co-sponsor

First Citizens Bank

, is accepting nominations for its Small Business Award which will be awarded at the chamber’s annual meeting in January.

The award is open to any Lancaster County business that has been open for at least three years and employs up to 30 full-time and part-time employees. The business must be a Lancaster County Chamber member in good standing.

The deadline for nominations is Dec. 30. For information, call the Chamber office, 803-283-4105.


Founders Federal Credit Union

and the

Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce

are accepting nominations for the county’s volunteer of the year.

The award includes a $1000 contribution in the name of the recipient to his/her primary volunteer organization of interest, subject to committee approval.

Any Lancaster county resident or volunteer organization may be nominated. Nomination forms are available at the chamber office, 453 Colonial Ave., and may be mailed or emailed.

The deadline for nominations is Dec. 30. The award will be announced at the chamber’s annual meeting in January.

• The

South Carolina Forestry Commission

is encouraging landowners to place their orders for winter plantings while seedlings are still available.

Buyers have access to the full catalog of Forestry Commission seedlings grown and sold at its Taylor Nursery in Edgefield County. Offerings include more than 50 bare-root and containerized varieties of trees, shrubs and grasses. Bestsellers include baldcypress seedlings for wetland areas, crabapple and Chickasaw plum varieties for wildlife attraction, and many species of loblolly and longleaf pine for timber production.

Taylor Nursery features 17 selections of pine, 14 oaks and additional popular native trees such as persimmon, red cedar, Atlantic white cedar, dogwood and numerous other hardwood species. “For those who haven’t already made their selections, now is the time to act,” said Tim Adams, SCFC Resource Development Director. “Planting conditions are good over much of the state; soil moisture is optimal because of all the recent rainfall.”

Seedling orders can be shipped via United Parcel Service (UPS) or picked up at the Commission’s Taylor Nursery in Edgefield County. For information about the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s seedling sales program, species availability and pricing, including the full catalog and order form, go to Customers can also call Taylor Nursery at 803-275-3578 to ask questions and place orders.


• TUESDAY – Small Business Seminar – Seven Tips to Achieve Stratospheric Growth at 10 a.m. at the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce office, 116 E. Main St., Rock Hill.

• THURSDAY – Fort Mill Area Council of the York County Chamber of Commerce holds a holiday drop-in starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Oak Room of the Fort Mill Golf Course, 101 Country Club Drive, Fort Mill.