Bright idea! A million lightbulbs to give away |

Bright idea! A million lightbulbs to give away

Businesses that want to make a switch to energy savings have one more year to take advantage of free light bulbs and assessments through a program funded by PG&E ratepayers.

PowerUp-NC has helped 40 businesses lower their utility bills by installing compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, as part of a statewide push by PG&E and the state Public Utilities Commission to lower energy consumption.

“Any business that is a PG&E customer can get free bulbs. It’s a total freebie – it’s a no-brainer, in fact,” said Kelly Casterson, one of the founders of PowerUp-NC.

The funding for energy efficient programs is generated by surcharges paid for by PG&E ratepayers and is expected to dry up by the end of 2008, Casterson said. Until then, PG&E has 1 million CFLs to give away.

Up to 50 percent of a retail business’s utility bill goes toward lighting, Casterson said. The Creative Play Art Studio and Gallery in Nevada City recently made the switch and will save an estimated $1,500 a year by exchanging 43 100-watt reflector light bulbs, the group said.

CFLs last five to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs and use 75 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, according to PowerUp-NC.

Galleries and restaurants that want to create a certain lighting ambiance have been reluctant to make the change, but more options are surfacing, Casterson said.

From 2 to 6 p.m. today, those interested in energy efficient lighting can attend a free seminar called “Not your plain vanilla lighting retrofit” at the Nevada City Veterans Hall.

From 9 a.m. to noon next Thursday, PowerUp-NC and PG&E will provide a free seminar called “Going Green with Food Service and Restaurants” at the Nevada City Veterans Hall, 415 N. Pine St.


To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4230.

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