Say "Bah! Humbug!" to an energy-wasting holiday season

    Simple tips for holiday decorating, cooking and other activities from
    Direct Energy

    TORONTO, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - Everybody wants to make their holidays merry and
bright. But this year, Direct Energy is suggesting that consumers resolve to
do so without using so much energy. Direct Energy estimates that Ontarians
will spend nearly $11 million in electricity lighting their holiday lights
over the month of December while Albertans will spend close to $6 million,
Manitobans will spend over $1 million and British Columbians will spend
roughly $4.6 million.
    There's nothing Scrooge-like about giving back to the planet by being
environmentally conscious. In fact, it could be the start of a "green" holiday
tradition. To help make that possible, Direct Energy, one of the largest North
American providers of energy and energy-related services, is offering
consumers tips on trimming their holiday energy usage, which can spike
significantly during this festive time of year.
    "People have a lot on their mind during the holiday season, so making a
few smart choices can go a long way towards helping keep their energy costs
down and help our environment at the same time," said Dave Walton, director of
home ideas for Direct Energy. Part of Walton's job is helping consumers
identify sources of energy inefficiency in their homes and providing them with
practical suggestions to make them more energy efficient.

    Direct Energy is recommending these measures to reduce usage and maximize
efficiency during the holidays:

      -   Turn down the heat a few degrees. Doing so could save up to
          10 per cent on heating bills. Reducing the heat before guests
          arrive makes sense, too, because all their extra body heat will
          soon warm up the room.

      -   Dim the lights and have memorable holiday meals by candlelight. You
          could even "go organic" and try soy candles.

      -   Decorate using LED bulbs, which have a rated life of 50,000 hours,
          representing nearly 20 years of normal usage. That's a bargain,
          especially when compared with incandescents, which last just 600 to
          1,000 hours.

      -   Wrap gifts with conservation in mind. If everyone wrapped just
          three gifts in reused paper or fabric gift bags, it would save
          enough paper to cover 45,000 hockey rinks.

      -   Don't open the oven door to peek at what's cooking. It can lower
          oven temperatures as much as 25 degrees, which increases cooking
          time and gobbles energy. Use the oven light and window instead.

      -   Remember your other cooking appliances when preparing a holiday
          meal. Great for cooking or for heating up holiday dinner leftovers,
          microwaves use about 50 per cent less energy than conventional

      -   Use your dishwasher for cleanup. A dishwasher requires 37 per cent
          less water than washing dishes by hand.

      -   Buy miniature decorative lights, which use about 70 per cent less
          energy and last much longer than bigger bulbs. Connect them to an
          automatic timer to reduce the chance of leaving your holiday lights
          burning all night or while you're away.

    Electricity spending in December on holiday lights(*)

      Ontario                  $10.9 million
      Toronto                  $4.3 million
      Ottawa                   $1 million
      Alberta                  $5.8 million
      Calgary                  $1.9 million
      Edmonton                 $1.8 million
      Manitoba                 $1.2 million
      Winnipeg                 $750,000
      British Columbia         $4.6 million
      Vancouver                $2.3 million
    (*) Direct Energy has estimated the number of households that hang
        holiday lights, the number of strands and length of time they are

    For additional money- and energy-saving tips, consumers may visit

    About Direct Energy

    Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related
services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer
relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in
managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and
services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading
integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in Texas, the northeastern
United States and across Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit

    Editor's Note:

    These tips are based on information from the following Web sites(*):

    (*) Direct Energy is not affiliated with the organizations in the Web
    sites listed above.

For further information:

For further information: Joshua Orzech, Direct Energy, (416) 590-3306,; Alison Mullen, Ketchum Canada, (416) 355-7421,

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