(02/20/12) - Incandescent, fluorescent, and LED - the cost of running a simple light bulb is changing.
It's a bright idea, designed to help you save some money.
"The bottom line is that the bulbs as we know them are going away. We're going to have to spend more money initially, but we're going to get it back in the long run," said Pat Laidlaw, Bulbrite Marketing Representative.
By 2014, the old standby light bulb, or so called "incandescent" bulb, will be phased out. The 100 watt variety is still on the shelf, but as of the beginning of the year, it's no longer made. The staff at Winn's Electrical Supply in Burton has heard plenty of complaints and confusion from customers.
"'Why do I want to switch over to compact fluorescent?' Or 'why do I want these new LED bulbs?' Well, you're going to save money in the long run, and that's what counts," said Becky VanEvery, Winn's Electrical Supply VP.
As for why its happening, Laidlaw says it's a matter of dollars and cents.
"Just like with automobiles, the government is mandating that we need to become more efficient, less reliant on foreign oil, so they stipulated that the 100 watt light bulb needs to become more efficient. Same amount of light, 72 watts," Laidlaw said.
Unfortunately, you'll have to spend more before you save. While a two-pack of the old bulbs sold for around 50 cents, the standard and most economical replacement, known as the Replacement A Lamp or the incandescent "Eco-Bulb," runs a little higher.
"This is two for $3. A compact fluorescent is about four dollars a bulb for just one," Laidlaw said.
If you think that's a lot, the LED bulb will cost you around $21. That's actually down from last year's price of $56.
"Next year, they'll be down again, so as they get better and better, the technology, the cost will come down," Laidlaw said.
The true savings will shine through on your monthly energy bill when you compare just how much it costs to use those bulbs.
"$6 a month for your average 100 watt, $4 a month for the Eco Bulb, $2 a month for the compact florescent, and LED is about 50 cents a month to run," Laidlaw said.
On top of that, the LED bulb is guaranteed to last at least five years. Experts say they could last for up to 20, the fluorescent for around three, the Eco Bulb for maybe a year. That's compared to just six months for the old bulb. And switching over to a fluorescent or LED bulb can actually put cash in your pocket. From time to time, with a receipt, Consumers Energy will offer rebates to customers for making the switch.
"It's huge. They're willing to pay up to $22 or $23 back to you per bulb," VanEvery said.
There's no denying it. Most of us don't enjoy change, especially when it comes to everyday household items. The good news is that there are some light bulbs that you won't have to change out in your house.
"This is a decorative light bulb, done in a lot of chandeliers. This will not change. Some of the appliance bulbs, lowers wattage bulbs will remain unchanged," Laidlaw said.
ABC12 Main Station