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Angie Wieck, Published December 18 2013

Ban on traditional 40- and 60-watt light bulbs takes effect Jan. 1, but retailers can sell them until their supply runs out

FARGO – Consumers will not be left in the dark by a Jan. 1 ban on the production of traditional 40- and 60-watt light bulbs.

Alternatives such as compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are available, and retailers can continue to sell incandescent bulbs until their supply is depleted.

The move is the final phase of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which set energy efficiency standards for light bulbs.

Incandescent 100-watt bulbs were phased out in 2012, and production of 75-watt bulbs ended on Jan. 1.

According to information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, a standard incandescent bulb is only 10 percent efficient, with 90 percent of the electricity it uses being lost as heat.

While alternatives will cost more upfront, savings will come in the form of reduced energy and replacement costs.

Dimmers may provide the one complication.

Amanda Wolf, a marketing specialist-construction with Border States Electric, said some bulbs may not have the electronics included to dim. They may flicker or cut out because not enough current is being transferred to the bulb.

Wolf recommended consumers look for light bulb labels marked “dimmable.” She also said issues are fixable with a dimmer compatible with LED or CFL bulbs, sometimes referred to as a universal load dimmer.

Retailers contacted this week said they have not noticed consumers stocking up on the 40- and 60-watt bulbs in advance of the ban.

Todd Ostrom, manager of Ostrom’s Ace Hardware in West Fargo, said his store still has a substantial supply. In fact, they still carry a number of the 75-watt bulb.

Quick facts

Yearly energy cost is based on three hours of use per day.

E 60-watt bulbs: Approximate cost of 38 cents/each; $7.23 yearly energy cost; and a lifetime of 0.9 years.

E General purpose compact fluorescent light bulbs: Approximate cost of $6/each; $1.85 yearly energy cost; and a lifetime of 7.3 years.

E LED bulbs: Approximate cost of $10.97/each; $1.32 yearly energy cost; and a lifetime of 13.7 years.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501