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December 31, 2013

Shoppers stock up to beat bulb ban

Shoppers stock up on incandescent light bulbs

They’re gradually disappearing from shore shelves and it’s not because of the major snowstorm forecast for Thursday.

When the new year arrives tomorrow, there are sure to plenty of people flocking to buy milk, bread — and maybe even light bulbs.

Federal law bans the manufacture and importation of 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs as of Jan. 1.

That same law, the Energy Independence and Security Act, adopted in 2007, already prohibited 100- and 75-watt incandescent bulbs within the last two years.

The goal is to switch to more energy-efficient lighting, including use of compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs. They are 75 percent more efficient and last at least 10 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Incandescent bulbs cost a lot less than CFL bulbs, but generally don’t last as long. The four types of incandescent bulbs can be sold at U.S stores until inventories are exhausted.

Carolyn and Tom Arndt weren’t taking any chances while shopping at Market Basket in Londonderry yesterday.

The Auburn couple heard about the ban and made sure they picked up an eight-pack of 60-watt incandescent bulbs. It was apparent other customers had the same idea — the store shelf was mostly bare.

“That’s why we’re stocking up,” Tom Arndt said.

The eight-pack cost $2.99, compared to 99 cents for a single CFL bulb.

Although the Arndts use both types of lighting, they use incandescent bulbs for approximately 30 percent of their lamps and fixtures because they believe they are more attractive than CFLs.

CFLs also don’t cast as much light for at least several minutes after being turned on — one reason why some customers balk at buying them, store managers said.

“It can take them a long time,” Tom Arndt said.

Carolyn Arndt praised the increased energy efficiency that comes with using CFLs, but said she’s concerned because they contain mercury, which can be a health hazard.

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