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FARMINGTON, Minn. (Jan. 15, 2009) — Christine Thomes, Lakeville, and John Ruhland, Eagan, were named as Minnesota Brighter Ideas sweepstakes winners for Dakota Electric Association. Dakota Electric’s wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy, and its 28 member cooperatives sponsored the sweepstakes. Thomes received a home lighting assessment and an energy-efficient lighting package worth $250 in the Home Lighting Makeover sweepstakes. Ruhland received a $100 gift card to Cub Foods as part of the Fill Your Fridge sweepstakes.

“It was a good learning experience about compact fluorescents,” Thomes said. “I had not used any before this.”
Both sweepstake contests were aimed at promoting energy efficient technology, such as compact fluorescent lighting and Energy Star appliances.

“Energy costs are on the rise,” said Michael Hoy, Dakota Electric’s member services manager. “Our goal is to educate our members on ways they can control their energy costs through the use of new energy-efficient lighting and appliances.”

As a result of the compact fluorescent light (CFL) sweepstakes and promotion throughout Minnesota, more than 126,000 bulbs were sold and more than 9.6 million kWh saved. The average home consumes approximately 11,000 kWh per year, so this promotion saved enough electricity to light more than 870 homes for one full year. Dakota Electric members who changed out bulbs as part of this promotion will save more than one-half million kWhs of electricity in one year.

“If every home in the United States would replace just one light bulb with an Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent bulb,” Hoy said, “the nation could save more than $600 million in annual energy costs.”

Co-op members can stay up to date with energy-efficiency advice, promotions and future sweepstakes opportunities by visiting

A customer-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 100,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy Partner, serves its member/owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.

Great River Energy is a not-for-profit cooperative which provides wholesale electricity to more than 1.7 million people through 28 member distribution cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. For more information, visit