Lights Out On Incandescent Bulbs

A vote scheduled for later tonight in the U.S. House of Representatives could determine what kind of light bulbs you can buy next year. Laurie Johnson reports.

You may not know it, but as things stand right now incandescent light bulbs will soon start disappearing from store shelves.

"They'll see that they can't buy the cheapest 100 watt incandescent bulbs anymore. And that's January 1. They won't see a whole lot else at first, but then slowly other bulbs will stop being for sale."

That's Amy Ridenouer, president of The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank in Washington.
She says Congress passed stricter energy standards back in 2007, which will result in a de facto ban on incandescent bulbs starting next year. But the BULB Act, which comes up for a vote tonight, would repeal those standards.

"So that the incandescent bulb could continue to be sold the way it always has been. This is the first step toward repealing, it may or may not eventually be repealed because we don't even know if the Senate will vote on it. And expectations are that President Obama would veto it unless it's with something that he just can't stand to give up."

If incandescent bulbs do phase out, compact flourescent bulbs will take over. CFLs are more expensive, but use less energy and
emit less heat. Ridenouer says she's not opposed to CFLs, but thinks people should be able to choose what kind of light bulb they want to buy.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...