LAST CALL: Ourhouse offers to pay for your house

Not all the news about California's energy crisis has been bad.

Web retailer is reaping a PR bonanza by sponsoring an online contest offering to pay someone's utility bills for a year.

The Illinois-based Web site was planning the utility contest before California's power woes hit the headlines. Once the problem was in the news though, it saw an opportunity for free publicity and quickly put the contest on its site.

The result has been coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, on CBS radio news and by Associated Press among others, said Dale Sailer, the site's GM of home services. All that attention for only the cost of a dollars 4,800 prize (the site will pay the contest winner a maximum dollars 400 a month for a year). Sometimes in PR, timing is everything.

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