COLUMBIA — If you live in Harrisburg and are wasting energy by using the wrong light bulb, Jan Sublett has you on her list.
Sublett has spearheaded an effort to have residents of Harrisburg switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent light bulbs. Her C&S Market, located at the only four-way stop in town, has become a pickup location for the bulbs.
Sublett has organized canvassing efforts in the northwest Boone County town and keeps a list of residents who have made the switch to the more energy efficient bulbs.
Sublett's efforts were part of the "Battle of the Bulbs" competition between Harrisburg and the town of Rocheport, where the winner is determined by the town that trades in the most light bulbs. Boone Electric Cooperative sponsored the competition and gave away the compact fluorescent light bulbs for free distribution.
The competition concluded Friday, and the town that trades in the most incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents will receive a $1,500 prize. The runner-up receives $1,000. Boone Electric will announce the winner and present each town with a check on Monday morning.
Shirley Wilson of Rocheport led the charge for her town, going door to door with a group of citizens and a class from West Junior High School.
"It's a small town, you know, so everyone is very helpful to the needs of others in the community," Wilson said.
According to Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, the association Boone Electric is a part of, compact fluorescent bulbs save an average of $39 dollars over the lifespan of the bulb compared to the incandescent bulbs. It may seem counterintuitive to have a utility company take measures that will decrease profit, but as Boone Electric is set up as a not-for-profit cooperative business, all profit is returned to its members.
"It's a win-win situation," Sublett said. "We all receive money for participating and receive the free light bulbs, which will help us save money."
Vicki Kemba, manager of communications and human resources for Boone Electric, said the cooperative has received an overwhelming response from the two towns.
"Most people don't think of utilities as wanting to decrease energy costs, but if we get every person to switch to the CFL light bulbs, down the road we can delay building more power plants," Kemba said.