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Next Incandescent Light Bulb Phase-Out Looms

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Many consumers are still in the dark about the next light bulb phase-out, which is all part of legislation that calls for a 25 percent decrease in the bulbs' energy use by 2014.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Many consumers are still in the dark about the next incandescent light bulb phase-out, which is all part of legislation that calls for a 25 percent decrease in the bulbs' energy use by 2014.

"The hundreds are gone, we can't get anymore hundreds -- the 75s are rare. We keep having to switch brands," Tim Turner of Rothbone Ace Hardware on Commercial Street said about his light bulb inventory.

Now, it's the 60- and 40-watt bulbs' turn: by Jan. 1, 2014, it's lights out on production because of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. That means they'll only be available while supplies last.

According to light manufacturer Osram Sylvania, a recent survey showed only four in 10 Americans were aware of the looming phase-out. 

Turner said some customers have stocked up.

"We have a lot of people who like the old bulbs and they'll come in and buy up to hoard them I guess."

And at Home Depot, manager Ed Verrette has seen a similar trend. 

"They're buying carts, they're actually stock-piling."

An average incandescent bulb is expected to last about 9 months, according to manufacturers, but it's LED counterpart is expected to last more than 22 years.

The incandescent costs more than $7 to power on average each year, while the LED light costs just over $1 to power on average.

The price tags up front, though, are very different too.

"Very big cost hit at first, but our bill is about a fourth of what it was just by changing all the light bulbs out," Verrette said.

"There are a lot of things that get phased out over time and new things become popular," Turner said.
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