ImageChelan County PUD - Chelan County PUD customers have quickly responded to the offer of free energy-saving light bulbs, taking home about 11,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) so far, plus rain checks for thousands more.

“We’re thrilled with the response,” said Susan Gillin, Customer Service administrator. “Customers who replace old incandescent bulbs with these new compact fluorescent lamps will immediately start saving energy.” The goal of the CFL distribution is to get 41,000 energy-saving bulbs in the hands of residential customers by March 31, to help customers save energy and to meet state conservation requirements.

While gratified with the success of the distribution, the rapid response used nearly all of the PUD’s initial inventory, Gillin said. More CFLs are on the way from the supplier and expected to arrive by March 15.

Customers requesting bulbs in the meantime will get a coupon for more bulbs from the next shipment, while supplies last. Customers can receive up to 20 bulbs per household, but are encouraged to ask for only the number they can use.“We’re asking folks to count the number of fixtures in their house where these CFLs can be installed so they have a good idea of how many bulbs they need,” Gillin said.

Overall, the CFL distribution is estimated to save about a million kilowatt hours of electricity a year. For each CFL installed, customers can expect savings of about $15 in energy costs over a comparable incandescent, for the life of the bulb. A new feature on Chelan PUD’s Web site helps customers figure their individual savings from installing CFLs at home. The savings calculator compares the cost of using old-style light bulbs with CFLs.

The 13-watt CFLs being given to PUD customers provide the same light as a 60-watt standard bulb. They use up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than old-style bulbs.

By distributing bulbs free to customers, the PUD is buying an energy resource. “We’re buying back the electricity that would have been used if customers continued to use standard light bulbs,” Gillin said. This is in keeping with goals set by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which regards conservation as the least expensive energy resource available to meet power demands in our region. The Energy Independence Act, passed by Washington voters in 2006, adopts these goals and establishes guidelines for utilities to set and meet conservation targets.

Conservation helps keep local rates low by making more PUD energy available to sell on the wholesale power market.

In addition to the CFL distribution, the PUD is joining a regional program to reduce the cost for customers who need specialty CFL bulbs such as dimmable, 3-way, candelabra or flood lamps. The 10 local retailers who display the “Change a Light” sign offer reduced prices on the specialty bulbs. The PUD also is paying up to $2,500 to residential customers who add insulation and install energy-saving windows and glass doors in their homes. The Resource$mart program offers funding for energy-efficiency improvements for commercial and industrial customers.

Check the PUD’s Web site at for tips on saving energy and to sign up for Lightly, the PUD’s online energy newsletter. Follow the PUD on Twitter at