Business Journal: Subsidized Bulb Program Questioned

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, December 24, 2007
You can find anything on eBay these days. Including subsidized energy-efficient light bulbs from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. It’s a nice idea - PG&E makes it cheaper for people to conserve energy. Who could complain? Well, the consumer activist group The Utitility Reform Network could. The group says the bulbs are finding their way into a “cottage industry” of people who buy them at the discounted price and then resell them out of state for more money. PG&E says the number sold on eBay is miniscule compared the total distribution statewide. This year, the utility company plans to send out 30 million light bulbs. It said this giveaway could save 400,000 megawatt-hours, or the equivalent of powering almost 60,000 homes for a year. The Utility Reform Network, though, believes PG&E may have overestimated this number and will end up buying the energy that was supposed to be conserved.