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Lower your holiday bill

As temperatures fall and the holidays arrive, energy use rises. Portland General Electric has suggestions for customers on how to use energy efficiently and safely.

An average PGE residential customer uses 900 kilowatt hours per month, but that jumps to about 1,100 in December, a 22 percent increase. The numbers run higher for folks with electric heat.

Special tips for the holiday season include:

n Energy efficient holiday lights can save money over the long run. A string of LED lights may save about $9 worth of electricity during the season compared to a similar length of old fashioned 'night light' sized bulbs.

n Turn holiday lights off before bedtime. A timer or remote control device can make that easier.

n Inspect cords and plugs carefully each year for wear and damage.

n Be careful climbing ladders, especially outdoors where overhead power lines may be near.

n Use a microwave for cooking whenever practical. Keep oven warm-up to the minimum time, and turn down the heat under saucepans to the minimum needed to keep a boil or simmer going.

n Once the fire in the fireplace has completely died, close the damper. Otherwise, heat from your house goes right up the chimney.