(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Consumers Energy is helping families across Michigan to save energy and money this year by donating 85,000 energy-efficient light bulbs through food banks.

This month, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank is giving out about 40,000 Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) through its network of food pantries. Families receive a package of two CFLs, along with information on the bulbs' benefits and other energy-saving tips.

“This is the third year Consumers Energy has distributed CFLs through our network,” Feeding America West Michigan CEO Ken Estelle said. “By helping our clients save money on their energy bills, Consumers is giving them a better shot at affording the food they need to lead healthy lives.”

CFLs can last up to 10,000 hours, or nine years. They produce 75 percent less heat than traditional bulbs, making them safer to operate and more energy efficient – saving about $30 in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

The CFLs are distributed by EarthTronics (www.earthtronics.com), which is based in Muskegon.

Consumers Energy has increased its commitment to EarthTronics and other West Michigan businesses by $125 million and is increasing its spending on all Michigan goods and services by $1 billion from 2011 to 2016, all through its participation in the Pure Michigan Business Connect program.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy and provides natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties in Michigan.

For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com, or visit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConsumersEnergyMichigan and Twitter.