Mainers tired of waiting for competition to lower their electric bills can grab Reddy Kilowatt by the lightning bolts and take matters in their own hands.

Consider this: Installing just one Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulb in a high-use area can save about $9 annually on a residential customer’s electric bill.

Install six, and Central Maine Power Co. customers can cut this month’s approximate $10 rate increase in half, says Public Advocate Steve Ward.

And on top of that, the state’s Efficiency Maine program offers $2 instant rebates on the bulbs at participating retailers. The bulbs are so efficient, notes Denis Bergeron, who directs the state program, that one can be installed “while your kid’s in elementary school and not have to be replaced until they’re ready for college.”

Bergeron says the program, which falls under the umbrella of the state’s Public Utilities Commission, is funded by a miniscule charge on electric customers’ bills. That cost works out to about $9 annually on the average residential bill, he said.

The program has also replaced 1,200 older refrigerators in the homes of mostly low-income elderly folks, saving them $20 to $30 a month on their bill.

And the program has saved enough energy to power 2,800 Maine homes for about 7 years, said Bergeron.

In the process, air emissions have been reduced by an amount equivalent to taking 8,700 autos off Maine roads.

Efficiency Maine offers programs geared toward big and small businesses, homes, schools, government buildings and contractors.

– Doug Fletcher


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