Aussie’s Half-Million Lights Set Christmas-Decoration Record

But he won’t have to pay an electricity bill.

A bright idea.
National Journal
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Alex Brown
Nov. 26, 2013, 9:07 a.m.

Dav­id Richards’s elec­tri­city bill should be go­ing up $2,500 this month — that’s what hap­pens when you string up 29 miles worth of Christ­mas lights. But some­times world re­cords come with perks, like a util­ity com­pany eager to play Santa (and earn some free pub­li­city for its green-en­ergy pro­gram).

Richards, an Aus­trali­an, watched his re­cord fall last year as an Amer­ic­an fam­ily strung up nearly 350,000 lights. It didn’t take him long to re­gain his spot atop the re­cord books. The Can­berra res­id­ent took a week off in Oc­to­ber to start the pro­ject, adding more lights every week­end after that to reach his cur­rent total of a half-mil­lion lights.

And while the bril­liant dis­play uses more than its share of elec­tri­city, Richards won’t be get­ting a huge bill. Ac­tewAGL, an Aus­trali­an util­ity, is spon­sor­ing the pro­ject and cov­er­ing the costs as part of its Greenchoice pro­gram to pro­mote re­new­able en­ergy. Greenchoice al­lows cus­tom­ers to pur­chase power from re­new­able sources that is then fed back in­to the grid. “We’re very for­tu­nate in that Ac­tewAGL are spon­sor­ing it with a green-en­ergy pro­gram,” Richards told ABC News. “So, it’s do­ing something for nature as well.”

Not only will Richards not be forced to spend ex­tra on his pro­ject, but he’ll be rais­ing money for a good cause as well. Pro­ceeds from vis­it­ors will go to SIDS and Kids, which helps coun­sel par­ents who have lost ba­bies to Sud­den In­fant Death Syn­drome. In 2011, when Richards first earned the re­cord, he raised $78,000.


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