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Free Light Bulbs

Make $62 For Every One You Install

Karen Parham, PEPCO
PHI/DSM Residential Program Manager

How To Find A Local Program

Who wouldn’t want to do that?  Artificial lighting consumes almost 15% of a household's electricity use. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) combine the energy efficiency of fluorescent lighting with the convenience and popularity of incandescent fixtures   CFLs can replace incandescents (your regular old light bulbs)and they are roughly 3–4 times their wattage, saving up to 75% of the initial lighting energy. Although CFLs cost 3–10 times more than comparable incandescent bulbs, they last 6–15 times as long (6,000–15,000 hours). CFLs are most cost effective and efficient in areas where lights are on for long periods of time. You'll experience a slower payback in areas where lights are turned on for short periods of time, such as in closets and pantries. Because CFLs do not need to be changed often, they are ideal for hard-to-reach areas.  Many compact fluorescent light bulbs now carry the ENERGY STAR® label. These bulbs last up to 10,000 hours and save $25 to $45 over the life of the bulb.
Compared to incandescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), when used properly have the following advantages:
  • Last up to 10 times longer
  • Use about one-fourth the energy
  • Produce 90% less heat, while producing more light per watt.
Table 1 below compares the wattage of commonly available incandescent lamps and the wattage of a CFL that will provide similar light levels.
Table 1. Comparable Wattage of CFLs and Incandescent
Incandescent WattageCFL Wattage
25 5
50 9
60 15
75 20
100 25
120 28
150 39
Table 2 below shows how you can save money using CFLs. This table assumes the light is on for 6 hours per day and that the electric rate is 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Table 2. Cost Comparisons between CFLs and Incandescent
 CFL Wattage100-Watt Incandescent
Cost of Lamps $14.00 $0.50
Lamp Life 1642.5 days (4.5 years) 167 days
Annual Energy Cost $5.91 $21.90
Lamps Replaced in 4.5 years 0 10
Total Cost $40.60 $103.55
Savings Over Lamp Life $62.95 0
You can reduce lighting energy use by selecting lighting and sources that use energy more efficiently, and by installing lighting controls.
Here are some basic methods for achieving energy-efficient indoor lighting:
  • Install fluorescent light fixtures for all ceiling- and wall-mounted fixtures that will be on for more than 2 hours each day. These often include the fixtures in the kitchen and living room, and sometimes those in bathrooms, halls, bedrooms, and other higher-demand locations.
  • Install dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures, rather than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in incandescent fixtures, so that fluorescent bulbs continue to be used for the life of the house.
  • Use CFLs in portable lighting fixtures that are operated for more than 2 hours a day.
  • Use ENERGY STAR® labeled lighting fixtures.
  • Use occupancy sensors for automatically turning on and off your lights as needed.
  • Consider light wall colors to minimize the need for artificial lighting.
  • If recessed lights are used in a ceiling with an unconditioned space above it, use only Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved fixtures that are airtight, are IC (insulation contact) rated, and meet ASTM E283 requirements.
You can use the chart below to compare the different types of lighting.
Lighting Comparison Chart
Lighting Type Efficacy
Color Rendition
Color Temperature
In/Out Doors
Standard "A"
10-17 750-2500 98-100 (excellent) 2700-2800 (warm) In/Out Doors
Tungsten Halogen 12-22 2000-4000 Color 98-100
(warm - neutral)
In/Out Doors
Reflector 12-19 2000-3000 Color 98-100
2800 (warm) In/Out Doors
Straight tube 30-110 7000-24,000 50-90
(fair to good)
(warm - cold)
In/Out Doors
Compact Fluorescent
lamp (CFL)
50-70 10,000 65-88 (good) 2700-6500
In/Out Doors
Circline 40-50 12,000 Indoors
Mercury vapor 25-60 16,000-24,000 50
(poor to fair)
Metal halide 70-115 5000-20,000 70 (fair) 3700 (cold) In/Out Doors
50-140 16,000-24,000 25 (poor) 2100 (warm) Outdoors
60-150 12,000-18,000 -44 (very poor) Outdoors
Why Are Electric Companies Pushing The New Bulbs?
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (the “Energy Bill”), signed by the President on December 18, 2007 requires all light bulbs use 30% less energy than today’s incandescent bulbs by 2012 to 2014. The phase-out will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014. By 2020, a Tier 2 would become effective which requires all bulbs to be at least 70% more efficient (effectively equal to today’s CFLs).
It’s not entirely correct to say "CFLs will be required" or “incandescents will be phased out” because the standards set by the bill are technology neutral, and by 2012, a next generation of incandescent bulbs could satisfy the 30% increased efficiency. There are also other lighting technologies, such as halogen and LEDs that will be able to meet the new requirements and are expected to both increase in performance and drop in cost over the next few years.
Lighting is approximately 20% of the average household’s energy bill. Natural Resources Defense Council estimates this law could cut our nation’s electric bill by more than $10 billion a year.
There are many types of incandescent bulbs that are exempt from this law:
  • Any kind of specialty light (ie. bulb in refrigerator)
  • Reflector bulbs
  • 3-Way bulbs
  • Candelabras
  • Globes
  • Shatter resistant
  • Vibration service
  • Rough service
  • Colored bulbs (i.e. "party bulbs")
  • Bug lights
  • Plant lights
The law applies to the sale of bulbs, not the use of existing stock of bulbs
What Happens If You Break A CFL?
Don’t panic, CFLs contain a very, very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury.  If the CFL broke recently, review the clean up guidelines to see if there are any reasonable actions that you could take today. For example, if you vacuumed up the debris and you haven’t yet changed and disposed of your vacuum bag, then do that.
EPA’s clean up guidelines are conservative, because they are based on the few scientific studies available to date. These studies are based on chronic (long-term) exposure to mercury vapors (exposure to mercury on a regular basis in your job). EPA plans to conduct a study to quantify the exposure levels from a broken CFL in the home and we will update our clean up guidelines as more information becomes available. If you are still concerned about your exposure to mercury, you should consult your physician.  To view the EPA’s clean up guidelines go to
How Do You Dispose Of CFLs?
Because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for CFLs. EPA is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Consumers can contact their local municipal solid waste agency directly, or go to
or or to identify local recycling options. The Home Depot and IKEA stores take back used, unbroken CFLs for free. Bring the CFLs to the returns desk.
If your state or local environmental regulatory agency permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the bulb in two plastic bags and put it into the outside trash, or other protected outside location, for the next normal trash collection. Never send a fluorescent light bulb or any other mercury-containing product to an incinerator.
Discounts and Rebates
What follows is a handful of rebate and discount programs for CFLs. This list is by no means complete. Some electric companies offer rebates that will be applied directly to your account. Others offer you a discount at time of purchase. Contact your local electric company to see what programs they may be offering. Remember that in addition to CFLs rebates, many companies also offer rebates on the purchase of energy efficient appliances, air conditioners, and more. If you have trouble locating your electric company, you can contact your state Utility Commissioner from the list at the end of this newsletter. They can direct you to your local utility office. You can also look online at For those readers from Ohio: at time of this publication First Energy Ohio was about to offer two free compact fluorescent light bulbs but then adding a fee onto every customer of $10.80 for each bulb. This program is currently being re-examined by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). For more information check out or or call PUCO at 800-686-PUCO.
Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts
You can save up to 20% of lighting costs if you purchase CFLs from the Energy Star Lights catalog at The Catalog offers discounted rates to those customers of participating electric utility companies and energy efficiency providers. You can save $2-$4 off of bulbs, $10 off of exterior fixtures, and $15 off of interior fixtures. Your billing address and shipping address must be in Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts, and you must include your residential electric utility account number. You can order up to 6 light bulbs and 6 light fixtures per year. You must be a customer of one of the participating sponsors, including National Grid, NSTAR Electric, Cape Light Compact, Western Massachusetts Electric, or Unitil, or live in one of the following communities served by a municipal electric company; Belmont MA, Bozrah CT, Chicopee MA, Groton CT, Holyoke MA, Ipswich MA, Jewett CT, Norwalk CT, Norwich CT, Paxton MA, Shrewsbury MA, South Hadley MA, South Norwalk CT, Wallingford CT, or Westfield MA. Catalog requests and orders may be placed toll-free at 800-473-9150 (MA/RI) or 888-433-1161 (CT). For more information contact EFI Utility Division, Energy Star Lights Program, 40 Washington St., Westborough, MA 01581; 800-473-9150;
Norwich, CT Recycling
In addition to saving money of CFLs in the program listed above, the Norwich Public Utility has opened a CFL disposal program. You can dispose of CFLs at 173 North Main Street, Norwich and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Drop off locations are also at:
  • Otis Library, Main Street Downtown
  • Norwich City Hall, 100 Broadway
  • Rose City Senior Center, Mahan Drive
  • Norwich Public Works, Clinton Avenue
  • Norwich Transfer Station, Rogers Road
For more information contact Norwich Public Utilities, 173 North Main Street, Norwich CT 06360; 860-887-2555;
Minnesota Rebates and Recycling
Residents of Austin, Owatonna, and Rochester Minnesota can apply for a rebate of 50% of the cost of a CFL bulb or package costs.  You complete a rebate form with a copy of the sales receipt and packaging showing Energy Star logo and bulb wattage and male to your utility provider.  You can have the rebate credited to your account or receive the check directly.  To learn more contact Austin Utilities, 400 4th St., NE, Austin, MN  55912; 507-433-8886; ; Owatonna Public Utilities, P.O. Box 800, Owatonna, MN  55060; 507-451-2480; ; Rochester Public Utilities, 4000 East River Rd., NE, Rochester, MN  55906; 507-280-1500;  You can download the rebate coupon at   In addition Rochester Public Utilities has a free recycling program for CFLs for RPU customers.  They can be dropped off at The Olmsted County Hazardous Waste Facility, 305 Silver Creek Road NE, Rochester, MN 5590
Grant County, Washington Rebate
You can receive a credit on your Grant County PUD bill of up to $2.50 per bulb.  You must complete a Billing Credit Form with bulb brand and model number, as well as the number of bulbs purchased.  For more information contact Grant County PUD, Energy Services, 312 W. Third, Moses Lake, WA  98837; 509-766-2512- 800-422-3199 ext. 2900;  Billing Credit form can be downloaded at
Maryland and DC Savings
Pepco is offering discounts off of CFLs bulbs to both Maryland and DC residents.  You can save $1.50 off a single bulb and $3 off of multi-packs.  There is a 25 bulb limit.  To find stores in Maryland offering this discount go to
For stores in DC go to  To fund this program all PEPCO customers will see a line item on their bill called “Demand Side Management Surcharge.”  The amount is based up kilowatt hours used, but typically a residential customer will see about a 4 cents per month cost.  Obviously those customers who take advantage of the bulb discount program not only receive a discount for the bulbs, they also reduce their monthly electric bill.  Cost of the surcharge over a one-year period will be approximately 48 cents. If you buy one bulb at the price reduced by the rebate ($2.50), the electricity you save in the first year (about $5.40) more than makes up for the surcharge you pay in that year. And since the CFL bulbs last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, you will save far more over the life of the bulb.  For more information contact Customer Service, Pepco, 701 Ninth St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20068; 202-872-2000;
Bryan, Texas Rebate
Bryan Texas Utility residential customers are eligible to receive up to $3.50 credit on their utility bill by purchasing a qualifying four (4) pack of CFL bulbs. You must purchase your four pack at a vendor within the BTU service territory, that includes Bryan, Snook, Kurten. If you’re not sure if they are a retailer in the BTU service territory, check with them or email or call BTU. You can download a rebate voucher form at
You can claim up to 6 vouchers in a five year time period. You must include proof of purchase and Energy Star logo off of packaging. Bryan Texas Utility, 205 E. 28th Street, Bryan, TX 77803; 979-821-5700; 877-ENERG 4U;
Alexandria, MN Rebate
Residential customers who purchase ten or more CFLs can receive a rebate of up to $1.50 per CFL. An application form can be found at
You must include proof of purchase and purchase price.  In the case of multiple packs you may need to bring in package to prove the number of CFLs that were purchased. For more information contact Alexandria Light and Power, 316 Fillmore Street, Alexandria, MN 56308; 320-763-6501; 800-267-8955;
Marshall, MN Rebate
Marshall Municipal Utilities offers rebates for the replacement of inefficient incandescent lighting with high-efficiency compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED lighting. Rebates are also available for new installations with savings based on the equivalent wattage of incandescent lighting.  The rebate amount is $.20 per nameplate watt saved through the installation of high-efficiency lighting or the purchase price of the new lighting, whichever is less. The minimum rebate application amount is $25.00.  For example: If you replace (ten) 60-watt incandescent bulbs with (ten) 15-watt compact fluorescent bulbs, you would save 450 watts. 450 watts saved X $.20 per nameplate watt = $90.00. The rebate amount would be $90 or the price of the new bulbs, whichever is less. Most new CFL's cost less than the rebate amount, so the entire cost of the bulbs are usually covered by MMU's rebate. You get the benefit of saving energy with no expense.  A Rebate Application Form can be found at
  You need a copy of your receipt, packaging that shows the nameplate watts and lumens of the new bulbs, and the old bulbs that you replaced.  After receipt of your completed application, MMU will issue a credit on your next utility billing or a check if the rebate amount is $100 or more. Rebate amounts less than $100 are automatically given as a credit on your utility bill.  For more information contact Marshall Municipal Utilities, 113 South 4th St., Marshall, MN  56258; 507-531-7005;
Other State Rebates And Discounts
To see if there are discount or rebate programs offered by your utility company, look at your electric bill and contact Customer Service.  You can also check them out online as most place their web addresses on your bill as well.  If you have trouble locating your electric company, you can contact your state Utility Commissioner from the list below.  They can direct you to your local utility office.  You can also look online at
Public Service Commission
PO Box 304260
Montgomery, AL 36130
800-392-8050 (toll free in state)
Fax: 334-242-0727
Regulatory Commission of Alaska
701 W 8th Ave., Suite 300
Anchorage, AK 99501
800-390-2782 (toll free in state)
TDD: 907-276-4533
Fax: 907-276-0160
Arizona Corporation Commission
1200 West Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
800-222-7000) toll free in state)
TDD: 602-542-2105
Fax: 602-542-5560
Public Service Commission
PO Box 400
Little Rock, AR 72203-0400
800-482-1164 (complaints- toll free in state)
TDD: 800-682-2898
Fax: 501-682-5731
Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave., Room 5218
San Francisco, CA 94102
800-649-7570 (Utility Complaints- toll free in state)
TDD: 415-703-2032
Fax: 415-703-1758
Public Utilities Commission
1580 Logan St., Office Level 2
Denver, CO 80203
800-456-0855 (toll free in state)
TDD: 303-894-2512
Fax: 303-894-2065
Department of Public Utility Control
10 Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051
800-382-4586 (toll free in state)
TDD: 860-827-2837
Fax: 860-827-2613
Public Service Commission
Cannon Bldg. Suite 100
861 Silver Lake Blvd.
Dover, DE 19904
800-282-8574 (toll free in state)
TDD: 302-739-4333
Fax: 302-739-4849
District of Columbia
Public Service Commission
1333 H Street, NW
Suite 200, West Tower;
Washington, DC 20005
202-626-5100 (Consumer Services Division)
Fax: 202-393-1389
Florida Public Service Commission
2540 Shumard Oak Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0850
800-342-3552 (toll free in state)
TDD/TTY: 800-955-8771
Fax: 800-511-0809
Public Service Commission
244 Washington Street
Atlanta, GA 30334
800-282-5813 (toll free in state)
Fax: (404)656-2341
Public Utilities Commission
465 South King St., Room 103
Honolulu, HI 96813
Fax: 808-586-2066
Public Utilities Commission
PO Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0074
800-432-0369 (toll free in state)
Voice/TDD: 800-337-1363
TDD: 800-377-3529
Fax: 208-334-3762
Commerce Commission
527 East Capitol Ave.
P.O. Box 19280
Springfield, IL 62794-9280
800-524-0795 (toll free in state)
TTY: 800-858-9277
Fax: 217-524-6859
Utility Regulatory Commission
Consumer Affairs Division
302 West Washington St.
Suite E-306
Indianapolis, IN 46204
800-851-4268 (toll free in state)
TDD: 317-232-8556
Fax: 317-233-2410
Iowa Utilities Board
350 Maple St.
Des Moines, IA 50319-0069
877-565-4450 (toll free in state)
Fax: 515-281-5329
Corporation Commission
1500 SW Arrowhead Rd.
Topeka, KS 66604-4027
800-662-0027 (toll free in state)
TDD: 800-766-3777
Fax: 785-271--3354
Public Service Commission
211 Sower Blvd.
P.O. Box 615
Frankfort, KY 40602
800-772-4636 (complaints only- toll free in state)
TDD/TTY: 800-648-6056
Fax: 502-564-3460
Public Service Commission
PO Box 91154
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-9154
800-256-2397 (toll free in state)
Fax: 225-342-2831
Public Utilities Commission
242 State St.
Augusta, ME 04333-0018
800-452-4699 (toll free in state)
TTY: 800-437-1220
Fax: 207-287-1039
Public Service Commission
6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202-6806
800-492-0474 (toll free in state)
TDD: 800-735-2258
Fax: 410-333-6495
Dept. of Telecommunications and Energy
1 South Station, 12th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
800-392-6066 (toll free in state)
TDD: 800-323-6066
Fax: 617-478-2591
Public Service Commission
6545 Mercantile Way, Suite 7
P.O. Box 30221
Lansing, MI 48909
800-292-9555 (toll free in state)
Fax: 517-241-6181
Public Utilities Commission
121 7th Place East, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55101-2147
TDD: 651-297-1200
Fax: 651-297-7073
Mississippi Public Service Commission
Woolfolk Building
501 N West St.
Jackson, MS 39201
601-961-5440 (Southern District)
601-961-5430 (Central District)
601-961-5450 (Chairman & Northern District)
800-356-6429 (Southern District)
800-356-6430 (Central District)
800-637-7722 (Chairman & Northern District)
Fax: 601-961-5464 (Chairman & Northern District)
Missouri Public Service Commission
P.O. Box 360
Jefferson City, MO 65102
800-392-4211(toll free in state)
Fax: 573-526-1500
Public Service Commission
1701 Prospect Ave.
P.O. Box 202601
Helena, MT 59620-2601
800-646-6150(toll free in state)
TDD: 406-444-6199
Fax: 406-444-7618
Public Service Commission
300 The Atrium, 1200 N St.
P.O. Box 94927 (68508-4927)
Lincoln, NE 68509
800-526-0017(toll free in state)
TDD: 402-471-0213
Fax: 402-471-0254
Public Utilities Commission
1150 East William St.
Carson City, NV 89701
702-486-2600 (Las Vegas)
775-738-4914 (Elko)
800-992-0900 ext 87-6001 (toll free in state)
Fax: 775-687-6110
New Hampshire
21 South Fruit St, Suite 10
Bldg. No. 1
Concord, NH 03301-2429
800-735-2964(toll free in state)
Fax: 603-271-3878
New Jersey
Board of Public Utilities
Two Gateway Center
Newark, NJ 07102
800-624-0241(toll free in state)
New Mexico
Public Regulation Commission
Consumer Relations Division
P.O. Drawer 1269
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1269
800-663-9782(toll free in state)
800-947-4722(toll free in state)
TDD: 505-827-6911
Fax: 505-827-6973
New York
Public Service Commission
Office of Retail Market Development
3 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223-1350
877-342-3377 - Complaints (complaints - gas, electric, telephone)
888-ASK-PSCI (275-7721) - PSC Competition Information
866-GRN-PWR (476-7697) - Green Power Information
Fax: 518-474-1691
North Carolina
Consumer Services
4326 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4326
Fax: 919-733-4744
North Dakota
Public Service Commission
600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept 408
12th Floor
Bismarck, ND 58505-0480
800-366-6888 (toll free in state)
Fax: 701-328-2410
Public Utilities Commission
180 East Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215-3793
800-686-7826 (toll free in state)
TDD: 800-686-1570 (toll free in state)
Fax: 614-752-8351
Oklahoma Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 52000
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2000
800-522-8154 (toll free in state)
TDD: 405-521-3513
Fax: 405-521-2087
Consumer Services Division
550 Capitol St., NE, Suite 215
P.O. Box 2148
Salem, OR 97308-2148
800-522-2404 (consumer services only-toll free in state)
800-553-9600 (toll free in state)
Fax: 503-378-5743
Public Utilities Commission
P.O. Box 3265
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
800-782-1110 (toll free in state)
Fax: 717-787-5813
Puerto Rico
Public Service Commission
PO Box 190870
San Juan, PR 00919-0817
Fax: 787-758-3418
Rhode Island
Public Utilities Commission
89 Jefferson Boulevard
Warwick, RI 02888
TDD: 401-277-3500
Fax: 401-941-4885
South Carolina
Consumer Services Dept.
P.O. Box 11263
Columbia, SC 29211
800-922-1531 (toll free in state)
TDD: 800-735-2905 (toll free in state)
South Dakota
Public Utilities Commission
Consumer Affairs
500 East Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
800-332-1782 (consumer affairs only)
Fax: 605-773-3809
Tennessee Regulatory Authority
460 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37243-0505
TDD/TTY: 888-276-0677
Fax: 615-741-5015
Public Utilities Commission
1701 North Congress Ave.
P.O. Box 13326
Austin, TX 78711-3326
888-PUC-TIPS (toll free)
TDD/TTY: 512-9367136
Fax: 512-936-7003
Public Service Commission
160 East 300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
800-874-0904 (toll free in state)
TDD: 801-530-6716
Fax: 801-530-6796
Public Service Board
112 State St., Drawer 20
Montpelier, VT 05620-2701
800-253-0191 (toll free in state)
Fax: 802-828-3351
State Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23218
800-552-7945 (toll free in state)
TDD: 804-371-9206
Fax: 804-371-9211
Utilities and Transportation Commission
1300 S. Evergreen Park Dr., SW
Olympia, WA 98504
800-562-6150 (toll free in state)
TTY: 360-586-8203
Fax: 360-586-1150
West Virginia
Public Service Commission
201 Brooks St.
Charleston, WV 25301
800-344-5113 (toll free in state)
Fax: 304-340-0325
Consumer Affairs Program Director
Public Service Commission
Consumer Affairs Unit
610 North Whitney Way (53705)
P.O. Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854
TDD: 608-267-1479
Fax: 608-266-3957
Public Service Commission
2515 Warren Ave., Suite 300
Cheyenne, WY 82002
888-570-9905 (toll free in state)
TTY: 307-777-7427
Fax: 307-777-5700