Shoppers Hoarding Incandescent Light Bulbs As New Regulations Loom

It’s been nearly four years since Congress voted to phase out low-efficiency incadescent light bulbs, but fans of the bright lights still have a few months before the regulations begin kicking in. And judging by sales numbers, it looks like consumers are snatching up incadescents before they fade away.

From the Boston Globe:

Sales of standard incandescent bulbs are up by 10 to 20 percent over a year ago at The Home Depot, according to the chain’s chief bulb buyer. A 2010 survey by Osram Sylvania, the Danvers-based light bulb maker, found that 13 percent of consumers plan to stockpile. At Lucia Lighting & Design in Lynn, some customers are trying to figure out how many incandescents constitute a lifetime supply.

While there are many valid concerns and complaints about compact fluorescent lights — not warm enough, dangerous or difficult to dispose of, expensive, can’t bake a muffin with them — some of the current hoarding stems from a widespread misunderstanding that all incandescent bulbs will be banned come 2012. In fact, the only bulbs you won’t be buying next year are 100 watt bulbs. In 2013, the standard 75 watt will vanish, followed in 2014 by standard 40 and 60 watt bulbs.

Even then, manufacturers will still be allowed to sell newer, high-efficiency incandescents that cost more at retail but save money on electric bills.

Regardless, the internet sales manager of one light bulb seller tells the Globe his company is doing quite well from the rush for bulbs whose price is low and shape isn’t curly. “I’ve had some really huge orders going to residences,” he says. “The largest was probably about $7,000. That was for a range of bulbs, a lot that aren’t even being affected by the legislation — but keep it quiet.”

Dim view of lighting law [Boston Globe]