Price of energy-efficient light bulbs drops

As city officials continue promoting a campaign asking residents to switch to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights bulbs, the price of buying them has never been lower.

Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, use about 75 percent less energy than ordinary incandescent light bulbs. And their prices have fallen by about the same percentage over the last decade.

It's now possible to buy CFLs for around $2 or $3 at some stores. An instant rebate program running through Nov. 30 means they're available for as little as 99 cents at some participating hardware stores.

&#8220When you consider in a few months you recoup that in energy costs, it becomes a really worthy investment,” said Wendy Reed, a spokeswoman for the Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World program, which promotes CFL use.

Reed said increasing demand for the bulbs has allowed manufacturers to make more of them, and make them more efficiently, which has lowered the price.

Replacing five light bulbs with CFLs is the first suggested action for participants signing up for the Minneapolis Energy Challenge, a city-endorsed website that calculates residents' energy use and how much they save by various actions.

City Council members have promoted the program the past month at neighborhood meetings, and officials talked up the site at a pair of energy fairs.

Using five CFLs in place of traditional light bulbs can save customers as much as $50 a year on their electricity bills, according to Xcel Energy.

&#8220Compact fluorescent bulbs pay for themselves a lot faster because they are so much less expensive,” said Kim Sherman, product portfolio manager for Xcel.

The instant rebate is being sponsored by Xcel Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, General Electric and the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Dan Haugen can be reached at [email protected] and 436-5088.