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The Electricity Cost of Running a Christmas Light Display

Steve Twigger, from ETSA, has provided an interesting breakdown of the cost of running various types of household Christmas Lights.

Modern low voltage (12 24 volt) Christmas lighting uses far less electricity than older styles of lighting (festoon - large coloured globes).

The following will allow you to approximate the running costs of each type of lighting.

First obtain the Wattage of the lights;

  • For low voltage lighting, i.e. where the lights are powered through a transformer or plug pack, the rating (W or VA) will be written on the transformer / plug pack.  (Generally between 20 and 100 Watts or VA)
    For low voltage lights directly connected to 240 volts the wattage will be on the box.
  • For 240 Volt festoon lights add together the wattage of the globes (as marked on the top of the bulb) (A typical string is 20 globes at 25W each = 500W total)

Then match the rating in the table below;

Rating of feature
in W ( Watts ) or VA

kWh / night

Cents / night

$ for 28 days

20

0.1

1.8

 $       0.50

40

0.2

3.6

 $       1.01

A60

0.3

5.4

 $       1.51

80

0.4

7.2

 $       2.02

100

0.5

9.0

 $       2.52

500

2.3

45

 $     12.60

Note: The estimated maximum electricity cost for the different load ratings was calculated assuming 4.5 hrs of usage per night for 4 weeks and an average price of 20c per Unit (kWh) the actual price will be subject to your contract with your retailer.
These calculations were based on the average retail cost of power in South Australia in 2007

Steve Twigger, from ETSA

This information was provided by ETSA Utilities, Major Sponsor of The Lights of Lobethal, at an information evening held in The Centennial Hall Lobethal on July 27th 2007