Updated 11:50 a.m.: The Citizens Utility Board this morning awarded Evanston 21,650 light bulbs and kicked off a year-long energy-saving competition among the city’s top seven employers.

CUB Executive Director David Kolata

In “The Big 7 Savers Challenge,” employers will compete to see who can build the biggest team and rack up the largest home energy savings with CUBEnergySaver.com, the nation’s only free online service that pays people to be energy efficient.

Any ComEd customer — not just employees of the seven businesses — can join one of the teams, and at the end of 2011, two people randomly selected from the winning teams will win a year of free electricity.

The 21,650 Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs are top prize for last year’s competition in which Evanston residents bested hundreds of other Illinois communities to save the most electricity with CUB Energy Saver.

About a third of the bulbs the city won were on display at the news conference this morning at the Evanston Public Library.

CUB Executive Director David Kolata and Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl were joined at the news conference by representatives from some of the employers — which include St. Francis Hospital, Rotary International, Northwestern University, Northshore University Health System, District 65, Evanston Township High School, and the City.

CUB Energy Saver gives households a personalized plan to cut their utility bills, tracks real savings, and rewards families with shopping discounts for reducing their electricity usage.

In 2010, CUB Energy Saver saved Illinois families more than $114,000 and 877,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity—enough to power the average Illinois home for a century.

CUB is a nonprofit utility watchdog organization created by the Illinois Legislature in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers.

Since then, CUB says it has saved consumers more than $10 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. More PR, wasting taxpayer and rate payer money!

    The last time the city passed out free bulbs they were claiming they were giving out free porch light bulbs.

    If anyone in the city bother to read the box – they were for indoor use. This is was another one of the city's silly energy programs. Tied in with Sustainability>

    Now the city gets 21,650 free bulbs – they will have to have staff give them out – for free – how much of taxpayers money will be wasted as they transport and give out these bulbs? Maybe it would be better to lay off the staff members involved with this and give the bulbs back to CECO?

    I recently bought 4 of these bulbs for $1.85 at a local home improvement store – it should be clear  to everyone – the cost of these bulbs is small – thus the value to the taxpayer's is almost zero.

    Why do we need to pay a sustainability coordinator close to $100,000 in salary and benefits to give out light bulbs. Given the city is about to cut more services ie. Ecology Center – this is another PR move of no value to us taxpayers.

    Its time some council members wake up to the nonsense going on here – of course if you are worried about getting a pension for part – time work along with your $17,000 a year in almost free family medical benefits you might not see the forest for the trees.

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