Store shelves empty as new light bulb laws take effect

Knoxville store shelves empty as new light bulb laws take effect

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By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - As of midnight Wednesday, production stopped on all remaining traditional incandescent light bulbs. Now local shoppers are stocking up before it's too late.

For decades, the incandescent light bulb has been the standard in American homes and businesses, but in recent years more energy efficient bulbs have begun to take over.

"They don't create as much heat and that's the reason why we've switched over to more energy efficient bulbs," said ACE Hardware worker Scott Jacobs.

The transition began in 2007 when then-President George Bush signed a law phasing out the old bulbs. The deadline arrived at midnight and now production has stopped on all traditional 40 and 60 watt light bulbs.

The shelves at the ACE Hardware in Bearden are already near empty as news spread of the approaching deadline.

"There's still people that would prefer to have the incandescent bulbs," said Jacobs.

That is true, especially when the alternatives come at a higher cost.

"A single CFL 40 watt bulb is about $4.50," said Jacobs. "The price for a halogen bulb, a two pack is about $5.49."

The halogen bulbs are the most similar to traditional incandescent bulbs.

Compact fluorescents, or CFLs, drew heavy criticism at first for their curly shape and harsh color of light, but technology has since improved.

The most expensive option is the new LED bulb.

"For this one bulb that is the equivalent of a 40 watt bulb, it's about $13," said Jacobs.

That one bulb can last more than 20 years.

Jacobs says while production of the bulbs has stopped, they still have enough supplies in their warehouse to keep their shelves stocked with incandescent bulbs for at least the next six months to a year.

This is the final phase out for the incandescent bulb. One-hundred watt bulbs were pulled in 2012, and 75 watts were pulled in 2013.

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