Say goodbye to 100 watts in 2012

Published 1:54 am Friday, December 30, 2011

If you prefer the brightness of incandescent bulbs over their more efficient counterparts, you better stock up on the 100-watt versions now.

The nation’s light bulbs will face new efficiency and labeling standards starting Jan. 1, after the congressionally-mandated efficiency standards gradually phase out Thomas Edison’s 131-year-old creation in favor of other light bulbs that use at least 25 percent less energy. The first to go, beginning Sunday, is the traditional 100-watt, followed in January 2013 with the 75-watt version, and in January 2014 with the 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs.

Still, don’t worry that the bulbs will be immediately taken off the shelves, local merchants said Thursday. The law mandating the phase-out, which President George W. Bush signed in 2007, says the bulbs can’t be manufactured or imported after Jan. 1 but lets stores sell them until stock runs out.

“And that’s what we plan to do,” said Nick Crowson at Brooks True Value Hardware store. “We sell all types of bulbs, but when our supply is gone, it’s gone. We can’t get any more because of the new law.

“Really, though most people have already switched over to the high efficient light bulbs, but I’d say maybe 1 out of 10 will buy the 100-watts when they come to stock up because they know sooner or later they won’t be able to get anymore,” he said.

It seems that local shoppers share a mindset with many other Americans – about a third, to be exact, who say they prefer traditional bulbs, according to an October survey of 303 adults conducted for lighting company Osram Sylvania. One in eight, or 13 percent, said they’ll stockpile Edison’s 100-watt bulbs.