City Launches 'Ugliest Light Contest'

Winner gets $400 to purchase LED lights as part of larger energy efficiency drive.

Looking for ways to save money on your electric bill? The City of Palo Alto wants to help.

The City has launched a contest encouraging homeowners to take photos of their ugliest lights for a chance to win $400 worth of brand new, highly efficient LED lighting.

In Mayor Yiaway Yeh’s first ‘Message from the Mayor,’ Yeh said that the city’s utility saves more money for ratepayers by encouraging conservation than by paying for new electricity supply.

“The cost to meet the City of Palo Alto's (City) energy demand by helping customers achieve improved efficiency was on average 5.5¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to the cost of purchasing future electric supply on average 11¢ per kWh,” said Yeh in an email Thursday. “It's a win-win for the City to help our customers meet their energy efficiency goals.”

The lighting contest was designed to raise awareness about the myriad rebates available for residents wanting to transition to a more energy-efficient home by using LED lights and other appliances like Energy-Star rated refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines.

Mayor Yeh also highlighted a number of forward-thinking initiatives to reduce the city’s energy needs. In addition to $1,500 rebates available for solar water heating systems, residents may also get rebates on solar panels through the City’s PV Partners program.

For businesses, the City partners with Right Lights+ to offer free energy surveys and help businesses design a plan to reduce electricity and gas usage and take advantage of up to $100,000 in upgrades.

The city is also , offering residents numerous charging stations throughout the city, and in July will roll out Time-of-Use rates so drivers get a discount for charging their car during off-peak hours.

The mayor also highlighted a progressive experiment in power management that he thinks could pave the way for major new efficiencies.

“The City is tapping innovation here in Palo Alto through a partnership to test cloud-based energy management software focused on energy efficiency with People Power so residents will be able to access that information easily through mobile apps,” he said.

For more information about reducing your carbon footprint and saving money, call the City's Utility Marketing Services staff at (650) 329-2241 for assistance.

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