Light swap being switched on for Downtown Auburn retailers

Sierra Business Council, PG&E partner with Consolidated Electrical Distributors
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Small-business merchants in Downtown Auburn are getting some help to upgrade their existing lighting to energy efficient LEDs.

The Sierra Business Council is working with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to bring a one-day light-swap program to the business district on July 29.

Ian Nimmo, a business council employee coordinating the program, said the focus is on smaller retail customers in the Downtown area and will be similar to one last month in Grass Valley that went over well with merchants.

“As people screwed in the lights, they discovered that they really look good and called back for more because they wanted to do the whole store,” Nimmo said.

Nimmo said the Truckee-based business council and PG&E are working with a third partner, Consolidated Electrical Distributors, to hold a third light swap in Placerville in August. That could be followed with one in another community, possibly Colfax, he said.

Swapping out the Sylvania incandescent lighting for LEDs has proven beneficial for Nevada City’s Tia Hollingsworth, owner of that community’s Bamboo Home Store.

“The experience was great, it was simple, cost effective,” Hollingsworth said. “It was exactly what was explained to me and my energy costs have been cut in half.”

Typical lighting-rebate programs require customers to wait up to 60 days for their rebates but the one-day event allows participating businesses to receive an instant rebate from PG&E for the upgrade, Nimmo said.

Businesses eligible for the rebate are PG&E customers in the Downtown area that have existing track lighting with incandescent or halogen lamps. An owner or owner’s representative is required to be present for the audit, lamp purchase and installation.

“We’re receiving bulbs at cost from the distributor and providing rebates so upfront costs can be as low as possible,” Nimmo said.

Nimmo will be in the Downtown area on Monday with a PG&E customer representative to hand out information on the program.

“We’ll be chatting with merchants and hopefully signing them up for the light swap,” he said.

Downtown Auburn businesses interested in participating should contact Nimmo at or (530) 582-4800 to schedule a time. There are a limited number of appointment slots available and they will be filled on a first-come, first served basis.

Nimmo said the Sierra Business Council is involved in the program because of its goals to foster thriving communities in the Sierra Nevada through projects that promote, develop and amplify the area’s social natural and economic capital.