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CHANGE A LIGHTBULB,
SAVE ENERGY
- US GOVERNMENT

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Wednesday urged Americans to switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs as part of a national conservation campaign after hurricanes Katrina and Rita unleashed higher energy prices.

The wholesale price of natural gas, a key fuel for many US electric utilities, soared to a record $14.75 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday. Some analysts predict the price could spike to $20 per million when the winter heating season gets under way.

Lighting accounts for almost 20 percent of electricity costs, with the average American home equipped with more than 30 light fixtures.

If every US household replaced just one traditional light bulb with one that earned the government's Energy Star label, the country would save $600 million in energy bills and enough energy to light 7 million homes, said Environmental Protection Agency administrator Stephen Johnson.

"Americans should realize how such a small step can help preserve our energy resources and environment," Johnson said at the kickoff of the government's "Change a Light, Change the World" campaign.

Energy Star bulbs use one-third the energy of traditional bulbs while giving off the same amount of light.

The Energy Star bulbs are more expensive with a package of six 14-watt Energy Star bulbs, which give off about the same level of light as 6 traditional 60-watt bulbs, costing around $10.

Nearly 72 percent of US natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains shut in from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which hit on Aug. 29 and Sept. 24 respectively. Some 21 natural gas processing plants also remain closed from either storm damage or lack of electricity.

Provided by: Planet Ark

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