Simple switch saving ACT millions

Luke Keioskie
Thu 15 Feb

St Vincent de Paul Society stores across Canberra can expect to save thousands in lighting running costs this year after they switched to new LED light globes in 2017.

The new lights were entirely free, thanks to the Big Business Light Switch program by ActewAGL. The program helps ACT businesses save on their energy costs with licenced electricians removing business’ existing traditional lighting and installing new energy efficient lights.

At the heart of Vinnie’s fundraising is its second-hand stores, which bring in around 50% of the charity’s income. With five stores and a warehouse in Canberra, keeping the lights on is a major expense.

St Vincent de Paul’s Canberra Regional Manager Paul Quinn said  all five of the St Vincent de Paul stores across the ACT received light upgrades through ActewAGL’s Big Business Light Switch.

“By upgrading our old lights we can expect to see around $15,000 of combined savings from all five stores annually. This is wonderful outcome and all money saved will go back into supporting the local community,” Mr Quinn said.

Canberra’s 1000th business to switch

The St Vincent de Paul Society Tuggeranong was the 1,000th Canberra location to get the Big Business Light Switch upgrade.

Around 200 lights cover the Tuggeranong store’s shopfront and vast warehouse. For this one store alone, Vinnies expect to see their energy costs reduced by up to $5,000 per year.

“When you’ve got hundreds of lights, the savings really add up,” says Todd Eagles, Manager of Energy Efficiency at ActewAGL.

“Not only are the new LED lights more efficient, they’re also brighter. This means a safer workspace and a better experience for customers.”

North to South, ActewAGL has been steadily working to brighten up Canberra’s businesses with greener and more energy efficient lights.

Since January 2017, they have replaced more than 100,000 glass fluorescent lights with new super-efficient LED globes.

“The customers that participate will make between 60-80% savings on their lighting costs, get brand new lights, and a brighter working environment,” Mr Eagles said.

“With an average saving of about $20 per light, per year, ACT businesses are already saving about $2 million.”

“But for Vinnies, it’s about so much more than saving money right now. Because ActewAGL’s lights last up to 20 years, there’s long-term savings.

“That means more funds to invest in local programs like the Night Patrol Van feeding Canberra’s homeless, and the Clemente Program giving disadvantaged people a pathway to university.”

Do you know a Canberra business that needs to make the switch? Find out more at or call 1300 789 002.