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Maryland - CFL Campaign

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CFL?
A CFL -- or compact fluorescent light bulb -- is an energy-efficient light bulb. These light bulbs last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and use about 75 percent less energy. A 15-watt CFL provides the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent. They are available at home improvement, hardware and other retailers. 

What is Delmarva Power’s CFL program?
Delmarva Power’s CFL program offers ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs to Maryland residential customers at a discount purchase price.  The price of a single CFL will be discounted $1.50 and the price of a multi-pack of bulbs will be discounted $3.

ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.  ENERGY STAR helps us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.  ENERGY STAR sponsors the “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign - a national call to action encouraging all Americans to help change the world one light at a time. 

Why does changing light bulbs make such a big difference?
Lighting can account for up to 20 percent of the average home’s electric bill.  That can amount to a huge chunk of change. 

Why should I replace my incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR  CFLs?
ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs provide a quick and easy solution to help you save energy, especially in high-use light fixtures. CFLs are a great alternative to standard incandescent light bulbs because they use 75% less energy while providing the same amount of light. When you use less energy, you not only save money on energy costs, but you also help protect our environment. Using CFLs is one of the simplest ways to start saving!

What’s the difference between an ENERGY STAR CFL and others?
ENERGY STAR CFLs are different from the other CFLs because they meet strict governmental operation standards.  To earn an ENERGY STAR, light bulbs and fixtures must pass extensive tests to ensure high quality light production.   Use the chart below to help select the right CFL bulb for your needs.

Energy Use for Incandescent Light Bulbs


ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs


4 to 9
9 to 13
13 to 15
18 to 25
23 to 30
28 to 40
30 to 52

Will there be a charge on my bill to pay for this program?
Yes, Maryland residential customers will pay a minimal surcharge on their electric bills.  The proposed amount of the surcharge will be $0.000039 per kilowatt-hour.  For the typical Delmarva Power residential customer who uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month, this charge will add around 4 cents to their bill each

Why are Delmarva Power Customers paying a surcharge for this program?
The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the residential CFL program in the fall, which authorizes the recovery of implementation costs through a demand-side management surcharge. This program helps reduce overall energy use, environmental impact and helps meet Maryland’s goals for reducing the state’s energy use by 15 percent by the year 2015.

Will there be a separate line item on my bill?
Yes, the charge will be a separate line item on your bill. The charge will appear as “Demand Side Management Surcharge.”

How long will the program last?

The CFL discount program is scheduled to last three years. However, the demand-side management surcharge will remain on the bill for five years.

Does Delmarva Power make additional money for this extra charge?

No, Delmarva Power makes no profit from this offering.

When will the charge take effect?

The surcharge will begin the billing month of March 2008 as approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

If the program only lasts for three years, why will the surcharge be on the bill seven years?

The surcharge will be adjusted annually based on actual costs and corresponds with the savings you will enjoy over the life of the bulb, which is close to 10 years.

Why is the program period only three years given the energy-efficiency, savings and environmental impact?

The CFL discount program is intended to serve as an incentive for Maryland residential customers to change their home lighting and to change how they use energy.  We expect the use of CFLs to become commonplace in the near future as citizens become more aware of the benefits. 

Why do I have to pay the surcharge, when there are no participating retailers in my area?

Unfortunately, there are a limited numbers of retail locations in certain parts of our service territory.  We are working to increase retail locations so all Maryland residents have the chance to purchase the discount bulbs in the near future.  Please check our Web site for periodic additions of new retailers. 

Why were China-manufactured CFL bulbs selected for the discount program rather than
CFLS made here in the U.S.?
The discount CFLs are Energy Star ® qualified.  Currently there are no ENERGY STAR qualified CFL bulbs manufactured in the United States. 

Why did Delmarva Power choose CFLs for the Energy Efficiency Lighting Program rather than LED lights?

CFLs are the most energy-efficient lights available.  Delmarva Power chose CFLs over LEDs because of the recommendation by the U.S. government (Energy Star).  PHI relies on the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program as the expert regarding energy-efficiency.

Are CFLs safe? 

Yes, CFLs are safe.  They do however, contain a small amount of mercury, are made of glass and can break - if dropped or roughly handled.  Therefore, it is important to use care when removing the bulb from its packaging, installing it or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the lamp by its base (not the glass), and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket. CFLs are safe to use and no mercury is released while the bulbs are in use.  If a CFL breaks in your home, learn more about the EPA’s clean-up and disposal recommendations.

Is there a phone number I can call for more information?
Yes, call 1-866-353-5799.

Note: Do not dispose of CFLs in an incinerator, fireplace or other burning device.  Never use household cleaners to cleanup mercury spills