Progress Energy wants to offer customers a price break on CFL bulbs.
The Raleigh-based electric utility is asking state regulators to approve a program that would allow Progress customers to buy the energy-efficient bulbs at a $1.50 discount, on average.
The discount would cut the customers's cost of a CFL bulb by as much as 50 percent over the cost of an incandescent bulb.
Under the proposal, customers would pay the discount prices at select hardware stores and other retail centers, and Progress would reimburse the manufacturers and retailers. According to the company's filing with the N.C. Utilities Commission, it expects that the discount would result in 12.4 percent of light sockets in the company's service area using CFL bulbs by 2011.
If the program is approved, Progress would be able to recover its cost through utility rates. The utilities commission will have to review whether the benefits of the program are worth the cost.
Progress estimates that in 2011, the program would cost about $12 million and save about $13 million in electricity sales. The energy savings would continue for years after the initial expense, as long as the bulb remains in use.
In the proposed program, $8 million of the the $12 million program cost would go to pay for the bulbs, while $4 million would be used for marketing, promotions and other administrative expenses.
The proposal is based in a pilot program Progress ran for 10 weeks in the fall of 2007 through Home Depot.
Progress is offering energy efficiency programs to comply with a 2007 state law requiring greater use of renewable resources and energy efficiency. The company has 3.1 million customers in Florida and the Carolinas.