Brenda DiCarlo, Southern Maryland Food Bank Director, shows what an average family would receive for assistance from the food bank. Having operated for 31 years, the food bank distributes needed supplies to families in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties and is now serving approximately 11,500 families each month.

Approximately 7,500 families served by the Southern Maryland Food Bank will receive ENERGY STAR® certified compact fluorescent lights (CFL) as part of Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s (SMECO) participation in EmPOWER Maryland programs to help the state reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015.

On November 6, 2014, SMECO donated 30,000 CFLs to the food bank. The CFLs will help Southern Maryland families facing economic hardship to reduce their energy costs so they can free up limited resources for other necessities.

“We know that some of our customer-members face hardships in paying their bills each month,” said Jeff Shaw, SMECO’s Energy and Technology Director. “Providing CFLs to these customer-members will help them reduce their energy usage, which reduces energy costs. Customers can save about $50 in energy costs over the life of the bulb because CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. Reducing lighting costs is the first step to saving energy and saving money. We want customers to learn more about how they can save energy because that’s an expense they need to manage.”

“Many customers look to our food bank to provide household items that they may otherwise not be able to afford,” said Brenda DiCarlo, Southern Maryland Food Bank Director. “The ability to provide necessities, such as energy efficient light bulbs, can really help customers manage their monthly budgets and free up financial resources for other needs.”

Find additional information and updates about SMECO’s energy efficiency programs by visiting or by calling 1-888-440-3311.

SMECO is a customer-owned electric cooperative, and we are proud to be a J.D. Power 2014 Customer Champion. We are one of an elite group of 50 U.S. companies to be named to this list.

SMECO provides electricity to more than 156,000 services in southern Prince George’s County, and in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, and all but the northeast portion of Calvert County. Co-ops are distinctly different from investor-owned utilities because co-ops are owned by their customers, and these members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors.

Co-ops also issue capital credits to their members. What are capital credits? They are the member’s share of the co-op’s margins, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed. SMECO’s margins—revenue less expenses—are used as working capital for new construction and system improvements. When SMECO’s Board of Directors determines that a percentage of the capital credits can be distributed to members through a general refund, capital credits will be issued by check or credited to members’ electric bills.

Follow SMECO on Facebook at and on Twitter at . The SMECO 24/7 mobile app is available at