News Department

FirstEnergy utilities invite customers to enter holiday lights contest

NEW JERSEY – As households tap into the magic of the holiday season, FirstEnergy Corp. invites customers to show off their best and brightest outdoor holiday lighting displays for the chance to win a weekly prize as part of the company’s annual “Merry & Bright” Holiday Lights Sweepstakes.

Customers can submit a photo or video of their outdoor lighting displays on their respective electric company’s Facebook® page until Friday, Dec. 16. One entry from each of FirstEnergy’s 10 utility companies will be randomly selected each week to receive a $100 Amazon® gift card. The winning entries will be shared on Facebook.

Participants must be 18 years old and current FirstEnergy customers. Additional information and complete contest rules are available on each utility’s Facebook page.

Decorate for the Holidays Safely:

Whether customers adorn their homes for a chance to become a “Merry & Bright” winner or simply to spread holiday cheer, FirstEnergy reminds customers to take the time to ensure all decorations are installed safely and functioning properly. These tips can help safeguard your home throughout the holiday season:

  • Be aware of overhead hazards if you are using a ladder or lift to hang outdoor lights. Ladders should always be carried parallel to the ground!
  • Never throw lights into trees or other outdoor structures as a means of decorating.
  • Do not hammer tacks or nails into the electrical cord when hanging lights. Instead, use clips to safely attach lights to the house.
  • Use only extension cords that are approved for outdoor use. These cords must meet rigorous safety standards that indoor cords may not meet.
  • Outdoor lights, inflatables and other decorations should be plugged into outlets protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Place outdoor lights on a timer or turn them off before going to bed to reduce the possibility of electrical hazards overnight.
  • Decorative lights should be approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory and carry a UL seal on the tag. Red UL marks indicate the lights are approved for indoor or outdoor use, while green UL tags indicate approval for indoor use only.
  • Check lights for frayed wires and broken bulbs. Discard and replace any damaged strings or bulbs.
  • When possible, keep lights and extension cords out of puddles, damp soil, snow or ice.

It’s also important to be aware of potential electrical hazards when decorating outdoors. Do not install outdoor lights, inflatables or other decorations under or near any power lines or utility electrical equipment. Keep these three words in mind while decorating your home, especially when using equipment, such as a ladder, that extends your reach:

  • Stop. Stop what you’re doing to consider your personal safety before attempting to install lights or decorations around power lines or electrical equipment.
  • Look. Look around for potential hazards and ways you might come into contact with electrical equipment and identify a way to avoid the hazard.
  • Live. Prevent serious injury or death by taking precautions to avoid accidental contact with electrical equipment.

If an object gets caught in a power line or contacts electrical equipment, do not attempt to remove it. Call 888-LIGHTSS (888-544-4877) so that a FirstEnergy crew can retrieve it safely.

Indoor Lighting Safety

As you deck your home with twinkling lights, trees, wreaths and more, take the appropriate steps to ensure your decorations are hung with care:

  • Indoor lights should not touch window treatments, carpet, furniture or drapes.
  • Keep flammable decorations far away from any open flames or heat sources, such as candles, heaters and light bulbs.
  • Live trees should be kept well-watered.
  • Avoid overloading extension cords by using no more than three sets of standard lights per cord.
  • Prevent tripping by placing cords and decorations in low-traffic areas where they won’t be walked on. Avoid twisting, kinking or crushing cords.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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