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Utility to sell you $9 bulbs for $21

Published: Wed, October 7, 2009 @ 12:02 a.m.

By Don Shilling

Consumers will pay 60 cents a month for three years for the bulbs.

FirstEnergy Corp. is sending two energy-efficient light bulbs to all of its residential customers in Ohio, but not everyone is happy with the charge that comes with the bulbs.

The utility will charge customers about 60 cents a month for three years in exchange for delivering the compact fluorescent bulbs to the door or mailbox.

The average residential customer will pay $21.60 over three years for the two 23-watt CFLs, which are equivalent to 100-watt incandescent bulbs.

Retailers sell the CFLs for about $9 a pair.

Ellen Raines, a FirstEnergy spokeswoman, said the utility is permitted to recoup the cost of the bulbs, their delivery and the power that the customer would have used if they didn’t install the bulbs.

Despite the fee, consumers will save about $60 in electricity costs over the life of the bulbs, which is expected to be five to 10 years, Raines said.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel tried to stop FirstEnergy’s plan because it thinks there are better ways to encourage energy efficiency, said Anthony Rodriguez, a spokesman for the agency that represents consumers in utility-rate cases.

FirstEnergy, parent of Ohio Edison, is sending the bulbs in an effort to comply with a new state law that requires utilities to reduce the demand for electricity, but other utilities have adopted plans that don’t include a monthly charge to consumers, he said.

One utility sent discount coupons to consumers, while another set up a program with a particular retail chain that provided discounted bulbs.

State Sen. Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd, said she would have preferred that FirstEnergy comply with the new law by issuing the coupons. That way, consumers would have had a choice in what type of bulb they can install, she said.

She encouraged consumers who don’t like FirstEnergy’s plan to register their complaint with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel at (877) 742-5622.

Raines said FirstEnergy thinks more consumers are more likely to use the energy-efficient bulbs if they are delivered to them. Its plan was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

About 80 percent of the bulbs will be hand-delivered to customers, with the rest being delivered by mail. Delivery of the 3.75 million bulbs will start Monday and take about five weeks.

FirstEnergy has hired three companies to handle the deliveries. No action is required by consumers.

Raines said a state energy law passed last year requires utilities to cut electricity demand by 22 percent by 2025. The law contains annual benchmarks that start this year, so utilities must take steps to reduce demand.

Raines said this is the first step in its plan to reduce demand and comply with the law. In future years, it will propose other ways of reducing demand, including possible programs for commercial and industrial users, she said.



1Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Next year they will triple the electric rates to encourage less usage . Smashing the bulbs and sending them back is a fine idea ! :)

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2Ytownnative(1118 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Can I bill them $21.60 for each pair of them I already installed?

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3UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

What a royal ripoff to it's utility customers. 2 bulbs are $3.50 at Target. This is a real travesty and then to have us pay $.60 a month for the next 3 years for them is incredably wrong. I already use CFL's in my home so what a waste. Seeing Capri Cafaro as one of the bill's sponsors tells it all.

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4Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Reminds me that we are paying $10 billion a month on wars most Americans hate. Just another example of the tyranny of the Corporate King.

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5timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

22% by 2025. What are we going to stop having kids. The numbers always plus up in soceity. What about Bussiness they don't have too. It's just a Joke. Most of the comments hit the nail on the head.But what's being overlooked is First Engry and other companies are saying the'll be losing money with these bulbs. So a Tariff we be imposed to make up for the Companies losses in the Residentail Sector while this is being implemeted ! This I know hasn't been discussed on this site. How come the companies aren't envolved too? Get the wndmills out . These companies need to pay the company first and it's stockholders last. Just think if all companies did this. They would not have to depend on the Tax payers to bail their dreams out. How can you exspect to stay in Bussiness when you don't pay the Bussiness??

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6thinkpositive(10 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm a little confused, and I'm not an expert, but - if a company sends you something that you didn't order and don't want isn't that considered a gift? And aren't there laws that state you do not have to pay for something you didn't order and don't want?

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7timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Go ahead and break the bulbs and send them back ! Your still going to pay for them. The Law and People who make the Laws are on these Magots side. Intresting isn't it ! Where has free America gone ? Wait til they hit us with the Tariff for less usage !

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8chocolatebabe304(29 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago


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9One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

As I understand it, it's a Postal Service regulation that if you get something in the mail that you did not order, you can not be charged for it (a gift - as the previous 2 posts state).
I wonder what would happen if we sic the postal service on Edison. . . . ?
Any postmen/women out there have an opinion?

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10AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

If you want to send a message to First Energy, organize a one or two hour all lights off protest.

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11redvert(2199 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I think an aspiring young attorney that receives a couple of bulbs might consider filing a class action suit to see if the postal regulation cited above really will stand up in court. That regulation is national, not local so it could take a Supreme Court ruling!

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12Freethinker(24 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I do not believe they are being delivered by the Postal Service. They will be dropped of by a private concern.
I will deduct 60 cents from every electric bill and wait for the class action suit to be settled.
I will not be a victim to greed. I will not be dictated to!

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13peej1984(9 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Interesting. Why in the world do we keep voting for these people that make these deals up? PUCO is supposed to help the consumers not the energy companies!!! People do you see the light here? Open your eyes please, "slowly but surely they drew their plans against us" !!! We are losing our freedoms little by little everyday. Wake up and vote these wackos out of office!!! I already have these bulbs in my house!!!! Does that mean I dont have to pay the extra cost? Most people I know are using these bulbs also. That should mean I get a discount!!!! Not a bigger bill!!!

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14thinkpositive(10 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm not a math genius - but my figures indicate the following: the article states they are delivering 3.75 million bulbs and charging .60 monthly for 36 months for 2 bulbs or .30 monthly for 36 months per bulb. .30 x 36 = $10.80. 3.75 million x $10.80 = $40,500,000. The article also states the bulbs can be purchased by consumers for $9 per pair (or $4.50 each). Since I'm sure First Energy is not going into Home Depot and buying bulbs 2 at a time, let's use half that price, or $2.25 per bulb (and I'm also sure they are paying even less than that per bulb). $2.25 x 3.75 million = $8,437,500.
So, $40,500,000 (in fees from customers) less $8,437,500 (in cost of bulbs) = $32,062,500 for delivery and lost income. [I love the part where they are permitted to recoup the amount they would have been paid if we didn't use their energy-saving bulbs! We have to pay for electricity we're not using!]
I don't know about anyone else - but I would gladly deliver their bulbs for half of $32 million!

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15bobhogue(102 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

First Energy's plan doesn't sound like a very bright idea.

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16Kellie(24 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I already purchased my energy saving bulbs myself. This is a ridiculous idea! Just a way of increasing the rate. Why not have skipped the expense of buying the bulbs (First Energy) and just increased our bill for the lesser amount that wouldn't have included their cost for the bulbs. If promoting energy efficiency was mandated, coupons for bulbs would have been the best idea.
I don't like the idea of paying for something that I already own.

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17Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Call Ohio Edison to voice your displeasure .

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18redvert(2199 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Do Ohio residence realize how badly you are getting screwed over. I am a Florida resident and spend my summers here in Ohio. Before retiring I worked in a different town than I lived in. I paid property tax, 6% sales tax and federal income tax, that is it. No local working tax, city tax, or state income tax. Look what you pay in Ohio.

By the way my property tax in Florida on a home of the same size but greater value is less than half of what it is in Ohio (no resident exemption). My Florida insurance is triple what it is in Ohio (hurricanes) but when you add everything up the difference for the two states is less than $100.

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19Vqueen21(8 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

IF the bulbs are hand delivered, can't we just refuse them from whomever brings them to our doors?

I already own the bulbs too. When I need more bulbs, I buy them 2 for $3.50. Coupons would have been the best idea.

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20BobK(20 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Hello all.
I just spoke to ohio edison rep and it was amazing to hear the responses to my questions.
paraphrased but you get the idea:
1. you are not being billed for them--there is no LINE ITEM for the bulbs its included in the recent rate increase!!!!!!
2. your local stores must sell them below market price.....I mentioned buying 4 at Home depot last week for about $8.00.
3. I asked how can they justify the price we pay and can they provide the accounting breakdown of costs involved since this is not SUPPOSSED to be a profit program---was told that is impossible!!!!!!!
4. I asked how can the company justify such a blatent rip off and profiting on this while HIDING behind the law. I was told they are not hiding behind the law , then was told the rate increase allows it! DUH
5 I asked about the high profit and was told also they are not making A PROFIT on this.


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21joly1584(24 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I asked First Energy how to opt out of the program. They said I can refuse the bulbs but I would still be charged for them.

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22henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

We should all begin delivering our household garbage to the nearest First Energy facility; i.e. power sub-station, office building or maintenance building. They can incur the cost of clean-up and we can save trash collection costs. This should make them think twice about stupid sh*t like this!

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23stoptheblame(8 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I am like the rest of you. I already have these bulbs in my house but you can't use them in your dimmer or ceiling fan. This sucks! They are much cheaper at Wal-Mart and all the other stores. You do things around your house to cut down on your electric bill and here they come with this b*** s****. We can't get ahead if we try.

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24peej1984(9 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I just spoke to a friend of mine that is a democrat.
He responce was, this isnt a major deal, i'm not worried about it. My god, do all dems think this way. Little bit at a time, is what I see. The mills are gone, the factories are gone, the dems are in power and now this? Very interesting.

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25thinkpositive(10 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Chico54: You've posted twice now that the Dems are against this & are fighting it. Which Democrats and, besides Kucinich, what exactly are they doing to fight it?

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26Freethinker(24 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

This came about by the PUCO board that was mostly Republican appointees. Hagen is leading the fight to have a cease and desist order brought forth. All politicians and the PUCO are heavily funded by the Utility companies.

We truly have the best government money can buy.

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27thinkpositive(10 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Chico I wasn't calling you out for posting twice - I just would like to know who you are referring to and what they are doing. I, and I'm sure others, would like to know who is looking out for the consumers. So - can you let us know who they may be? Thanks.

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28joebag09(321 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Where the heck are our elected officials?? If they're sitting, doing nothing, as most often happens, we have got to get together and vote them OUT OF OFFICE. Enough is enough, we have to hold our office holders accountable and stop sitting still while our rights are being trampled on. Why do any of us have to accept and pay for something you didn't order or want.

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29northsideperson(366 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

This morning, I called the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel at (877) 742-5622. The nice gentleman at the other end said they had already received quite a few calls about this.

I did not yet call Ohio Edison at 1-800-633-4766 but I suspect that by this time it won't be necessary - they have gotten the message.

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30Badbulbidea(1 comment)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Here goes another freedom. Why do I need bulbs from First energy when I can buy the same bulb in a 6 pack from Wal-Mart for $13.88? What idiot thought this one up?

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31Freethinker(24 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

I haven't heard anyone say this is for our own good. The Republican appointed PUCO and the utility companies are to blame for this profit making idea.

Does not matter if you suppport Republicans or Democrats...they are both funded by the Utility companies and other special interest concerns.

All politicians should be made to wear NASCAR jumpsuits that display their corporate sponsors.

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32metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Poloticans made this law,the utility companies chose to make a quick buck from it. I see now they may be rethinking it but the idea has not been scraped jsut yet. The poloticans made this all possible.

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33barackwillfixit(5 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

What are you all complaining about. This is all in the name of stimulus. Just think about all the low paying delivery jobs that this will create.

Your boy, Obama is probably so excited. He will take claim for creating jobs, being green, and giving everyone "free stuff."

Sounds like Health Care. "Free" is paid for by taxpayers. In the case of the light bulbs, it's just a tarriff on your electric bill for the next three years.

In the case of health care, it is me and the rest of the working folk (and my kids and grandkids for that matter) that will be paying for it.

Get used to it people. Your boy, Obama and his crew will be shoving it down your throats for the next 7 and a half years, whether you like it or not.

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34metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Poloticnas have a nasty habit f telling us they are against thigns when they made them poosible. The love to say one tihng but do sometihng else behind our abcks. It is partly there fault as well.

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35Reader(126 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

It looks like it is on hold as of now. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out


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36ksnann(7 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

This is utterly ridiculous. How about getting out of our pockets, I have enough activity in there and trying to keep above water, and I don't live beyond my means, but everytime you turn around someone has their hands out!

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37ksnann(7 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago


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38ksnann(7 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

Thieves, and that's putting it lightly. Get out of our pockets.

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39metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

They always find a way tot screw us over.

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40metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

good point. Why not give you a coupon for say 30% off to buy then at a hardware store? Wouldn't that be easier and this mess would not exsist.

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41pci510(105 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

We changed every bulb in the house to fluorescent 2 years ago and should not have to pay any company for sending bulbs which are not needed. People should have a choice of what bulb to have in their house not dictated by a company who wants to have only their bulbs in people's houses. Posted by Tera

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42Reader(126 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment is what really gets me:

"The $21.60 charge, Ms. Raines said, would cover the cost of the bulbs, their delivery expense, and offset a loss in revenues to the firm for the expected lower electricity usage resulting from the energy-efficient lighting."

So they justify charging us an exorbitant amount of money to help cushion their loss of revenue as the result of us using more energy efficent lighting?

I think she needs fired for even thinking this is a reasonable statement to make or an acceptable way to treat their clients.

I guess when the energy company has a monopoly, they can treat their clients any way they want just so they stay profitable. Something needs to change!

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43pci510(105 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

This is one of the most greediest type of saying we want to have customers reduce energy which in reality is only a way to make mega funds for the company. Why should customers use just First Energy bulbs at so much a month when customers can buy better bulbs at a much lesser cost? Are in persons who work in management of the First Energy Company smarter than a fifth grader who figured out 3 ways for homeowners to conserve energy?
Posted by Toni

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44ront(119 comments)posted 6 years, 1 month ago

i e-mailed th puco about the light bulb fiasco. there response was, they approved the distribution of the light bulbs; but did not as of yet, approve the billing of customers.

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