This month, Direct Energy celebrates the first anniversary of its partnership with New York–based manufacturer MPOWERD, producer of the portable solar-powered Luci lights that are donated worldwide. 31,000 donations later, we’re still giving light and helping light up the world.
Last summer our organizations joined together in a philanthropic effort called Give Brighter that’s become a true win-win for both Direct Energy and people who don’t have access to safe, reliable sources of energy. How does it work? When a customer enrolls in our Give Brighter 12 plan, a 12 month fixed rate plan, we gift them a Luci light at no additional cost . In response, MPOWERD donates a second one to someone abroad living with little or no electricity.
Luci lights were developed in 2012 as a safe, green, affordable way to provide light to people around the world without the toxic and expensive kerosene lamps so many depend on. About the size and shape of a toilet paper roll, the waterproof, shatterproof, easily-inflatable lanterns can shine for up to 12 to 18 hours on a single charge, are lightweight to carry and come in handy anytime or anywhere flashlights might normally be used. A charge typically initially requires 7 to 12 hours of direct sunlight so that the unit’s solar panels can store the power within their lithium batteries, but after that, the power is then stored for the next several months. The reach of the light extends some 100 to 150 feet, the LED bulbs never need replacing, and Luci lights work in temperatures as cold as 15 degrees F (-10 degrees C) or as hot as 122 degrees F (50 degrees C).
Under MPOWERD’s sustainable business model, customers in the developed world pay retail prices to enable more affordable prices to those in developing countries. To students, families, businesses and organizations in the latter category, the lights are often life-changing.
“1.5 billion people in the developing world live without electricity,”. “That means when the sun goes down, women and children walk home in the dark, or a health clinic can’t stay open. But advancements in renewable tech have given us the means to literally put the power of the sun into a device that fits in the palm of your hand.”
To distribute the donated lights, Direct Energy and MPOWERD work with multiple organizations such as the Abundant Life Foundation and A New Course in Guatemala and the Malawi-based In a Perfect World. Last November MPOWERD worked through the International Medical Corps to deliver 1,500 Luci lights to Haiti in response to the effects of Hurricane Matthew.
In one memorable event last spring, the Direct Energy team partnered with the nonprofit Kids of Kathmandu to help distribute Luci lights, along with school supplies, as a surprise to the children of Kavre. As the team traveled up mountain switchbacks, they were able to give out Luci lights to families without electricity along their route. After Luci lights were distributed, members of the town celebrated and gave thanks by performing ceremonial dances.
In all, MPOWERD estimates that they have helped impact more than 1.25 million lives in more than 100 countries — and on every continent except Antarctica.
The Give Brighter 12 plan remains available to Direct Energy customers who have not enrolled, but anyone can donate a Luci light to a recipient in the developing world. For more information, go to directenergy.com/givebrighter.