LPEA offers holiday lights rebate

In an effort to encourage replacing old-fashioned incandescent holiday bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) is offering rebates to customers through Dec. 31 for LED holiday light purchases.

Customers can receive a rebate of $4 per string of 50 bulbs or more, $2 for strings of 49 or less. There is no limit to the number of rebates a customer can get, but original sales receipts for the lights must be submitted with the rebate form.

The rebate offer is another strategy initiated by LPEA to encourage energy efficiency and green technology. In the past, LPEA has provided incentives to customers for making their homes more energy efficient, having offered rebates for a number of different energy-saving devices and appliances.

According to an article releasd by Consumer Reports last year, LED lights use significantly less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, using just 1-3 kilowatt hours of energy as opposed to the 12-105 kWh required for incandescent bulbs. While the cost for lighting the average tree with incandescent bulbs runs as much as $6 to $10 for a season, by comparison the same tree lit with LED lights would only cost $0.13 to $0.17 for the season.

Money saved by using LED holiday lights also translates into an environmentally friendly holiday. Less energy used means fewer carbon emissions from power plants. Indeed, the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that carbon emissions would be reduced to 400,000 tons per year if all holiday lights were switched to LEDs. Furthermore, such a switch would result in saving over $250 million in electricity costs.

LED bulbs are also safer and more durable, according to the same Consumer Reports article. In the report, all bulbs on LED strings were still working after 4,000 hours of use while every incandescent string had one or more bulbs out under less than 2,000 hours of use. Likewise, since LED bulbs are plastic, there is a much lower potential for breakage than with glass incandescent bulbs.

LEDs also run much cooler than incandescent bulbs, creating a greatly reduced fire risk. According to Consumer Reports, Christmas trees account for over 300 fires per year, resulting in 14 deaths, with 22 percent of fires attributed to heat from incandescent bulbs. Since only 10 percent of the energy used by incandescent bulbs results in light, with the remaining 90 percent of the energy used given off as heat, the mixture of incandescent lights and an overly dry tree can be a dangerous — if not fatal — recipe.

Although the upfront costs for a 50-foot LED string of lights can be about double the cost for the same length of incandescent lights, the savings realized by using LED lights equalize the cost after just two seasons. The purpose of the LPEA rebate is to offset the upfront expense and encourage customers to invest in energy-efficient and, ultimately, cost-efficient LED lights. In the press release announcing the rebate program, LPEA spokesman Ray Pierotti wrote, “We’re hoping this rebate will give homeowners and businesses an incentive to change out their lights.”

Rebate forms are available at local retailers, the LPEA office, or can be downloaded from the LPEA Web site at www.lpea.coop.

jim@pagosasun.com