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LPEA offers rebate for purchase of LED light bulbs

La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is now offering rebates to its member/customers for purchase of energy efficient LED light bulbs. A $10 credit to a member’s active LPEA account will be entered for each purchase of a qualified Energy Star® bulb with a lumen output of 300 or more.

“We’ve been looking for an opportunity to reward our residential members when they invest in new, energy efficient lighting technology,” said Ray Pierotti, LPEA project specialist who oversees the cooperative’s lighting programs, noting that businesses are also eligible for the rebate. “Thanks to financial assistance from our power supplier Tri-State Generation and Transmission, and enthusiastic support from our board of directors, we were able to organize this rebate program.”

Called the “next generation of energy efficient bulbs,” LEDs, or light emitting diodes are revered as more efficient, durable, and versatile than both incandescent and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. The light output from LEDs remains consistent over time, decreasing only toward the end of their life — about 25,000 hours or 22 years, if the bulb is turned on three hours per day.

“LEDs are approximately 70 percent more efficient than old incandescent bulbs, which is similar to CFLs, but we’re finding that people prefer LEDs,” said Pierotti, alluding to the mercury inside the more easily broken CFLs.

Additional benefits of LEDs include quality colors, cool-to-touch bulb surface and a variety of sizes, shapes and applications (including dimmable varieties). The downside may be the cost, as bulbs can range from $12 to $40 a piece — with the Energy Star® rated ones that qualify for the rebate tending toward the more expensive end of the spectrum.

“That’s why the new rebate is going to be so helpful to people,” said Mark Schwantes, LPEA manager of corporate services. “We’ll help a little with the up-front cost, and the remainder of the return on investment will be realized in energy savings over time in our members’ homes or offices.”

Rebate applications are available for download at www.lpea.coop, or can be picked up at LPEA’s office in Pagosa Springs, 603 S. 8th St. To qualify for the rebate, applicants must receive electric service from LPEA and include with the application the original receipt and bulb packaging. The original packaging is required to verify bulb qualifications, and rebates cannot be issued for products where the qualifications are not clearly marked on the package.

“Then we will recycle the packaging for you,” said Pierotti. “We do want to remind everyone to really investigate the bulbs before purchase — sort of a ‘buyer beware’ as we’ve learned that not every LED is created equal. And remember they need to be Energy Star® rated with an output of 300 lumens or more.”

LPEA members have 180 days from time of purchase of the LED bulbs to apply for the rebates. For accounting purposes, LPEA does ask that members submit all their rebate requests at one time within that 180-day period, even if bulbs were purchased over a span of time. Credits could take up to three months before appearing on monthly electric bills.

For information, contact Ray Pierotti, rpierotti@lpea.coop or 382-7770.

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