Central Maine Power, Operation Lightswitch (residential), Profile #19


Central Maine Power's Operation Lightswitch® has been a program characterized by three discrete phases and is a powerful example of a program that has evolved from one of limited effect to quite significant effect, and perhaps most importantly has begun to transform the market for residential energy-efficient lighting in the State of Maine. While compact fluorescent lamps were all but non-existent in Maine a few years ago, now they are commonly on the retail store shelves at relatively low prices. Furthermore, 25% of the program's participants say that they will now buy the energy-efficient, compact fluorescents without any utility incentives at all!

The program began in 1988 when CMP began to work with the Lions Club to distribute halogen lamps. "Six-packs" of halogens were distributed through the Lions for a nominal charge. In the program's second phase, the Lions were used again, but this time to purchase compact fluorescent lamps from CMP for $1, and to sell them to residential customers for $3. (Note that the lamps offered had a list price of $18.75 and that all the lamps were distributed in the first week of the program phase!) In the third phase of the program CMP initially gave customers two, $9 coupons for compact fluorescent lamps which customers could find in chain stores throughout Maine. Later, after an initial coupon redemption rate that was slightly disappointing, CMP made the coupons available at the point of purchase.

As a result of Operation Lightswitch® approximately 20% of CMP's residential customers have installed energy-efficient lighting in their homes. Fully 486,000 halogen lamps were distributed and 256,200 compact fluorescents were distributed, in a total of 90,740 homes in CMP's service territory. This has been accomplished at a total cost of $4.6 million and has resulted in annual energy savings of over 30 GWh and lifecycle savings of 163.8 GWh.

CMP's efforts with residential lighting present a positive example of program evolution and market transformation. As the program evolved, the lighting technology that it promoted became more sophisticated, resulting in larger energy savings. The program also evolved toward decreased utility financial exposure, as customers became more aware of the benefits of the advanced lighting technologies and were thus willing to pay more for them. Through a careful process of educating customers, working with trade allies (such as the Lions Club and regional chain stores), CMP has been able to effectively transform customer awareness and perceptions of energy-efficient lighting for the home.



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