Utilities runs out of LED strings halfway through 4-hour ‘Green Santa’ exchange

       The widely advertised Colorado Springs Utilities “Green Santa” event Dec. 1 at the Conservation Center on Mesa Road offered people the chance to exchange incandescent holiday strings and light bulbs for LEDs and CFLs on a “first-come, first-served basis.”
       In response, people were lining up outside the center an hour before Green Santa started, according to Utilities spokesperson Nikki Richardson.
       Before the halfway mark of the four-hour energy-awareness promotion, Utilities had handed out the last of its LED strings, leading event participants to hold up hand-lettered signs announcing this fact to the line of cars on Mesa Road.
       Not all citizens took the news well - one Utilities employee was seen in tears after being shouted at.
       “I don't think we underestimated public interest,” Richardson e-mailed in response to a Westside Pioneer question. “There was just substantially more interest than last year.”
       She was referring to a similar exchange offer in December 2011, when the city-owned enterprise ran out of LEDs about a half-hour before the event ended. “As a result, we had 300 more LED strands for this year's event,” Richardson summarized.
       In all, 1,500 LED strands were distributed Dec. 1, along with 10,000 CFL bulbs, she said.
       Richardson also pointed out that the proceeds from recycled holiday lights “will benefit Project COPE, helping customers in need of utilities payment assistance. So, even if folks couldn't get free lights, they were still supporting a good cause.”

Westside Pioneer article