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Holiday lights add up on New York electricity grid

via Flickr

Many New Yorkers will celebrate the holidays this season in homes covered with decorative lights, but those holiday lights come at a cost to the state's electricity grid.

Dave Flanagan with the New York State Independent System Operator (NYISO) says all together, the electricity needed to power those lights begin to add up.

"I'd say it's more than a blip," Flanagan said. "It's about 4 percent of our average hourly demand for electricity in New York state and that 750-800 megawatts is equal to powering 800,000 homes."

Flanagan says the increased electricity use between Thanksgiving and the new year is sizeable, but the amount of power used has actually gone down over the years as more households have moved to energy-efficient holiday lights. In 2010, the average hourly demand for electricity during the holiday season was at 1,150 Megawatts.