In March 2012 I read an article on Triple Pundit regarding Philips defending the L Prize winning LED bulb from an article written in the Washington Post criticizing the government for handing out 10 million dollars to a company for producing a $50 light bulb.
I was all set to write a post demonizing the "right wing" Washington Post for misquoting the price of the $50 bulb when I read this line in the Triple Pundit article:
Philips states that the actual retail price of its prizewinning bulb will be closer to $20, comfortably within the L Prize requirement of $22. That’s because the bulb will be sold through partnerships with utility companies, which will offer up to $30 in rebates.
But then I saw this article on the newswire: "The award winning Philips L Prize LED bulb is now available at Bulbs.com". So I was interested to see what it was selling for. And guess how surprised I was when I noticed that both Triple Pundit and the Washington Post were wrong. The 10 watt LED bulb isn't selling for $50 dollars, it is currently selling for $59.99 at Bulbs.com! For.....one..... bulb.
And when I look back at the Triple Pundit note regarding the sale price of the bulb, I notice the last sentence a little more clearly. The part about the utility rebates. Which you aren't getting if you buy it online. And could utilities be wasting their money in the first place if there is a better option for consumers?
All this is surprising to me, because you can buy an almost identical LED bulb from Philips for $24.97 from Home Depot! And I did just that earlier this week.
It seems to me that Philips is only selling the L prize bulb on the merits that it hit arbitrary targets set forth by the department of energy, when in fact a much cheaper bulb (that they also produce) makes MUCH more sense for consumers. The two bulbs are compared in the below:
While the L prize LED bulb does consume 20% less watts and it does put out 17% more light, can someone PLEASE explain why it costs 140% more than Philips' other LED bulb?
Mapawatt is devoted to helping consumers find products, services, and strategies to help them save money and conserve energy in their homes. I'm not sure that the L prize bulb fits that criteria at this moment. In a later post, I will go into detail on when LED bulbs can make sense (especially when compared against incandescent). But at almost $60 per bulb the savings just aren't there right now (compared to 60 W incandescent based on 3 hrs/day over 10 year timeframe; this is not the case for the $24.95 LED bulb which would save you $30 over 10 years vs. an incandescent over that same time frame). I'm
sure hoping the price will come down, but until then...
The moral of the story: Buy LED bulbs! They use less energy, last longer, don't contain mercury, provide great light, and the right ones are great investments. Just shop around and beware of the hype machine.