State Parks Light Up ‘Green’ with Co-ops Gift

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COLUMBIA – South Carolina’s state parks are going to be getting a bit more “green” in the coming weeks with a simple twist of the wrist – 4,300 times. That’s how many compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) have been donated to the South Carolina State Park Service by the electric cooperatives of South Carolina.

The donation is part of the electric cooperatives’ new “Do the Light Switch” program, which also calls for each household served by a South Carolina electric cooperative to receive two free CFLs. The monetary value of the donation to the parks is more than $7,000, but the value extends well beyond that, the organization and the State Park Service said The CFL bulbs use about a fourth of the energy used by standard incandescent bulbs, saving about $30 over the lifetime of each 60-watt-equivalent bulb. That will translate to about $260,000 in savings over the lifetime of the 4,300 bulbs that were donated to the parks by the electric cooperatives.

The cooperatives also said that one bulb over its lifetime will prevent more than 450 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of burning nearly 200 pounds of coal. The CFLs are being provided by Central Electric Power Cooperative, which supplies and transmits power to the state’s 20 independent, member-owned electric cooperatives. “Switching to CFLs is the number one measure we can take to reduce power use and save our consumers money without asking them to change their lifestyles,” said Ron Calcaterra, CEO of Central Electric Power Cooperative. “Since many of our state parks are served by electric cooperatives, we’ll actually be able to reduce demand on our electric system, which will benefit all of our consumers.”

Chad Prosser, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, said, “As the custodians of our state’s most significant natural resources, it is important that we lead by example. This generous donation from South Carolina’s electric cooperatives helps us to demonstrate sustainable environmental practices in one more way.”

Prosser said the bulbs will soon be distributed to all 47 of the parks operated by the State Park Service ( The electric cooperatives in South Carolina jointly operate the state’s largest electric power system, with more than 70,000 miles of power lines serving more than 1.5 million South Carolinians in all 46 of the Palmetto State’s counties.

The co-ops expect to place 1.2 million of the free CFL bulbs in members’ homes in the coming year. For more information on that program, go to

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