Be Festive Without Breaking the Bank

By Dion Cooper, VEC President and CEO

Once again, the year has flown by, and we find ourselves in December with Thanksgiving just behind us and Christmas and New Years coming up fast.  My wife, Sandy, insists that I bring the Christmas decorations down from the attic before we can finish the Thanksgiving turkey. With Christmas lights adorning our home for well over a month, we decided to make the switch to LEDs to save energy.

LED Christmas lights use 88% less energy than incandescent lights. To put that into perspective, the Department of Energy estimates that with standard holiday decorations, LED lights typically increase energy bills by around $5 to $7. But with incandescent lights, energy bills will typically increase by $33 or more. For homes that go above and beyond with incandescent Christmas lighting (think Clark Griswold), energy bills could increase by as much as $350. Beyond energy savings, LEDs provide additional benefits, such as being shock-resistant, shatterproof, and cool to the touch, making them safer for the home.

You can also lower energy use by conveniently managing holiday lighting. Smart light timers can help you save energy by connecting to a smart phone app or voice assistant to program lights to turn on and off at set times. If you don’t use smart home technology, you can still save energy by using traditional timers.

Other easy ways to save during the holiday season include turning off overhead lights and using your Christmas tree to illuminate your home. If you have a fireplace, remember to close the flue when you’re not burning a fire to ensure heat doesn’t escape through the chimney.

Looking forward to 2024

As we get ready to welcome 2024, ringing in a new year sparks a sense of renewed hope and optimism about the future. As the CEO of VEC, for me, it’s a time to reflect on where we are and where we’re going. At the heart of this reflection, I think about ways we can better serve you, the members of the cooperative.

It was my pleasure to meet and talk with many of you at our Annual Meeting in October.  At the meeting, I spoke about our construction work plan and how we will use it to be strategic in meeting our goals regarding upgrades to our electric system and improvements in reliability. If you were unable to attend the annual meeting, I encourage you to visit our website,, and download a copy of the annual report.  The annual report discusses the construction work plan in more detail, includes the financial statements for fiscal year ended 2023, and provides an update on broadband.

Strategic planning sessions with our Board of Directors in September and with our management team in October laid the groundwork for our direction in 2024.  Available, reliable, and affordable electricity are always a priority for VEC, but the sessions also found a common focus centered around member engagement.  In short, how can we better serve our members?  I am excited about where we are headed in 2024 and will provide you with more details as the new year unfolds.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and family.  Our employees enjoy this time of year as well, but you know if wintry weather or storms impact your electric service, VEC employees will respond in whatever way necessary to restore power to our members.  On behalf of the Board of Directors and all our employees, I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May God bless you in the coming year, and may God bless the United States of America.