Trade ally helps cut lighting costs for Eastern Oregon small businesses

Trade ally helps cut lighting costs for Eastern Oregon small businesses

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This year in Eastern Oregon, Energy Trust of Oregon lighting trade ally Blue Mountain Electric has helped nearly 50 small businesses upgrade to LEDs at no cost.

Blue Mountain Electric is a family business owned by Heather and Shane Blagg, who have operated in Pendleton for more than a decade. As a Business Lighting trade ally and direct installer, they work with Energy Trust to help deploy its direct install lighting offer throughout the region. This unique incentive helps small businesses upgrade to LEDs at little to no cost, saving them upfront costs and long-term energy costs.

Since March 2023, Blue Mountain has helped 47 local businesses install safe, new energy-efficient LEDs. This translates to 508,501 MWh in combined savings, or a little more than $74,000 saved in energy bills.

“Folks around here are skeptical of something being free, but once they realize it really is no strings attached, they’re amazed,” said Trever Blagg, project coordinator at Blue Mountain Electric. “It took some effort to get this program off the ground, but now we feel like a well-oiled machine. The support from Energy Trust has also been great in getting us what we need.”

Electricians can expect to install more LEDs as the U.S. continues to transition from older, inefficient lighting. As of 2025, the sale of screw-in fluorescent lightbulbs will be banned in Oregon. While this law is important for energy efficiency and phasing out lighting equipment containing mercury, it could also be an unwelcome expense for small businesses.

“Businesses will have to replace their fluorescents eventually. So we tell them, look, save money upfront and let us help you install LEDs through Energy Trust,” said Blagg. “It’s a win for the owners’ wallets, the safety and comfort of their building, and for the environment.”

AnneMarie Kunkle, owner of Lil Angels Childcare, is one of the customers who took advantage of the incentive. Since installation, Lil Angels Childcare can expect to save approximately $842 in annual energy costs.

“Our lighting was way past due for an upgrade. Our new lights are exactly what I was looking for, and at no cost,” said Kunkle. “Blue Mountain was the best ever at scheduling and installation. They made the whole process easy and we’re so grateful.”

The direct install lighting offer is available to customers of Pacific Power or Portland General Electric, and the business must have 20 or fewer employees or operate in 20,000 square feet or less. Industrial buildings are also encouraged to apply, if they have 50 or fewer employees or operate in 50,000 square feet or less. Additionally, community organizations providing free or reduced-cost services, and places of worship are encouraged to apply.

With the help of our trusted direct install lighting trade allies, Energy Trust has helped upgrade the lighting in more than 1,000 Oregon businesses, from Pendleton to Portland to Coos Bay.

To learn more about the process to apply to become a small business direct install installer trade ally and extend this offer to small businesses in your community, please reach out to Tom Morin at