PSE to give away last of 500,000 light bulbs

OLYMPIA - Puget Sound Energy will wrap up a massive, four-month giveaway of energy-efficient lights to its customers with a two-day event this weekend in Olympia.

By the end of the campaign, the utility expects to have distributed some 500,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 25 percent of the energy consumed by incandescent bulbs.

The energy-efficient light bulbs should help cut energy bills by more than $20 million over their lives, Puget Sound Energy officials said.

The 115 million kilowatt-hours of energy saved will result in 127 million pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions avoided – equal to taking about 10,500 cars off the road each year over the lifetime of the CFLs.

Customer participation in the program has exceeded utility estimates by about 25 percent. Last weekend at Lowe’s in Lacey, 2,000 customers exchanged 20,000 light bulbs, which ties the record event attendance of Oct. 10 in Auburn, company spokeswoman Rebekah Anderson said.

The cost of the exchange program to the utility is $1.5 million for the light bulbs, plus additional costs to stage the events, Anderson said.

Funding for the project – dubbed “Rock the Bulb” – comes from a customer conservation program fee of about $2.80 per month for an average residential electricity user.

The customer-financed conservation program has been in place in its current form since 2002, company spokeswoman Dorothy Bracken said.

Anderson said customers can expect some waiting in line at the weekend event, with the lines shortest in the afternoons and on Sunday.

John Dodge: 360-753-5444