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Readers express opinions of program (Mail Call)

January 13, 2008

Editor's note: Many readers of The Herald-Mail have expressed their opinions, both positive and negative, about the compact fluorescent light bulbs that Allegheny Power sent to its customers. The following are some of the comments we have received.

"People, what's next, the telephone company sending $99 cell phones and saying if you don't pay, they will cut your service?"

- Clear Spring

"I've been reading a lot about these light bulbs. I'm another one - the Rohrersville person's right. Here I got three bulbs addressed to someone - the last name is mine, but not my first name. I never got one for myself yet, but I'm gonna be billed for them. But the other three, I just put them back in the mailbox and scratched the name out and put 'Return to sender.' So their mailing list was screwed up on top of that. But thanks, Allegheny, for the light bulbs that I didn't get, and thank you for giving me a bill that I didn't get any light bulbs. What a screw-up."

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- Chewsville, Old Forge area

"Dear Western Marylanders: Once again, we have gotten the dirty end of the stick. The Allegheny Power company, with the help of our rotten-to-the-core public service commission, has found a way to unfairly bill us for something we didn't ask for or need. I am referring to those infamous light bulbs. Please, I beg everyone to call the public service commission at 800-492-0474 and vent your displeasure. If you don't, what will they do next?"

- Netz Road

"To the people of Hagerstown and surrounding areas who are mad about receiving the light bulbs from Potomac Edison: Don't send them back to Potomac Edison. Don't send them back to the manufacturer. Send them back to the PSC. Address: William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 S. Paul St., 16th Floor, Baltimore MD 21202. Send them receipt requested, so if they get tired of signing for them, they'll find out that we mean business when we don't want the light bulbs."

- Halfway

"If you want to do something about Allegheny Power's light bulb fiasco, contact Gov. (Martin) O'Malley's office since they control the public service commission as well. You can contact the Maryland Office of People's Counsel at 800-207-4055 to voice your concerns. The unsolicited mailing and surcharge for these light bulbs is in violation of U.S. Code Title 39, Section 3009. That section of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 incorporates protection for American consumers."

- Hagerstown

"I'm calling about the Allegheny promotion bulbs that were sent through the mail. Did anyone else read that there was mercury in these bulbs that would be out in the air if they broke a bulb? Also, did you read that if a bulb is broken, you should evacuate the area for at least 15 to 20 minutes? What does that say about them? Also, you have to find a way yourself to dispose of these. They cannot tell you how to do it. Just some interesting items I thought were in the literature they sent along with the bulbs."

- Hagerstown

"About the bulbs, I think we should all deduct 96 cents from our light bill because we didn't ask for these things, and seniors have enough to pay for."

- Smithsburg

"Stand up and be counted. Call the public service utility commission and complain about the surcharge regarding the light bulbs. Their direct number is 800-492-0474. Or you can go to the Web site, www.psc.state.md.us. Like I read in the paper and I agree with everyone, that's outrageous that we should automatically be charged, and above market price, for a commodity that we didn't request and have no need for, actually."

- Hagerstown

"I wonder if everyone would take and get their light bulbs together and address to the capital, down there to O'Malley, you think that he would accept them all, and then let him pay for them? Because we don't want them."

- Boonsboro

"As regards the light bulbs which were sent out by Allegheny: I thought that in Maryland, anything that is sent to your home without your request is free. You do not have to pay for things that come to your house unless you order them. I did not order light bulbs. I'm sending them back. I don't want them. I think we should all send them back, and have them pay for the postage."

- Smithsburg

"I have a question for the citizens of Maryland. The Avon lady came to my door today and said I owed her $11.52 for Avon that I did not order. The public service commission said I shall pay this. What's the citizens of Maryland's opinion?"

"Concerning the new type light bulbs that have been mailed out to most of us by now and we're being charged $12 for two of them: I want to make a deal with the public service commission in Maryland and Allegheny Electric. I can sell them two of those bulbs for $4 apiece for the two, and I can still make a little money on them, and that way they can charge $12 and they can still make money. So I think that would be a good business venture for me to get into since they are apparently paying lots more for their bulbs than they should, to send out to us. What a rip-off this is."

- Sharpsburg

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