Californians paying more to power Christmas lights

ABC 10 News KGTV
ABC 10 News KGTV

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Decorating your home is one of the highlights of the holiday season but if there’s one festive touch that outshines the rest, it’s the Christmas lights. But the beautiful light displays may also come with a hefty price tag.

A La Mesa father says he has about 30 illuminated light figures outside of his home. This is in addition to the three Christmas trees and lights hanging from the home on Binney Place.

“It makes me feel awesome pride,” says Chris Ostwald. “I come out here and look at it to myself every night.”

Ostwald says it takes him days to get the display up and running.

“It takes me approximately 10 working days, sun up to sun down,” says Ostwald. “I like to keep everything off the ground. All of the connections are hidden and away from everything. They’re all waterproofed.”

The homeowner says he added sub-panels in the garage specifically for the lights to avoid any outages inside the home. Ostwald says he had an electrician come out to the home to check his connections and each circuit is 20 amps.

But running the festive display comes with a price tag.

“Our bill has risen over the last few years,” says his wife Hilary Ostwald.

Hilary says they have solar power, but December is 50 to 60 percent of their full-year bill.

“Just this year our bill has already doubled in price and we haven’t really hit the Christmas light time yet. I expect this month will be pretty high.”

This La Mesa family won’t be the only ones footing the bill this year. According to a study from House Method , it will cost Californians 17% more this year to power Christmas lights. The national average is up 13%.

The family says inflation has also drawn up the price of the holiday fun.

“I notice that lights that I usually got for $30 were now $60 at home depot,” says Chris Ostwald.

“Despite the increase in expense and 17 percent increase, it’s certainly not going to stop us from year to year,” says Hilary Ostwald. “There’s so much pride that my husband takes in this time of year that it's definitely worth every penny of it.”

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