PLANO -- It seems like a simple equation: use more electricity for Christmas lights and your power bill is bound to hit the roof. But, that may not be the case at a spectacular display of holiday cheer in Plano.
Every flash of every light is synchronized to music.
"For each second of music that we are programming, we have to make that second of music do 96 different things with our lights," said Jim Beckham, who created the Westridge Drive light show.
The display is a visual feast for the eyes, including 16,000 colorful lights, hundreds of dripping icicles, a 16-foot-tall inflatable Santa and 20-feet-tall illuminated trees.
Beckham's holiday display is drawing big crowds, and most assume, big energy bills.
"It would make it astronomical," said Cindy Herrick, who came to see the lights.
But Beckham's electric bill did not skyrocket. In fact, last month, it only went up $38. Beckham's uses light emitting diode bulbs, also known as LED. When he used regular lights three years ago, his electric bills went up $600 a month.
"A set of 50 LED's is roughly about 2.4 watts," Beckham said. "Most people in a home have 100-watt bulbs just in a lamp. So you can use thousands, and barely equal what you're using in the house."
While the electricity may be cheaper, setting up an elaborate display like this is no inexpensive venture. Beckham showed us his receipts. His investment: about $11,000.
"If you can do all this, and you've already put out the money that you've put out for the lights, it's nice if you can save in another area," Beckham said. "So what I save in electricity, I can buy more lights."
The price of lights vary by size and numbers. Generally, LED lights are more expensive. We found a string of 100 white LED lights for $16. At the same store, similar non-LED lights started at around $3.
Beckham's over-the-top display evokes memories of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, when Clark Griswald's lights wreaked havoc on the area electric grid. Those who come to see Beckham's colorful holiday extravaganza say they're just as impressed at his electric bill, as they are at the lights.
But most of them admit, they'd rather come see it than do it themselves.