Government continues incandescent light bulb phaseout


MISSOULA, Mont. - It's lights out for the incandescent light bulb. In an effort to increase energy efficiency the government started phasing out incandescent bulbs in 2010. It started with the 75 and 100-watt bulbs. New Year's Day the government began phasing out more incandescent bulbs. Now 40 and 60-watt incandescent bulbs are the next to go. Missoula residents Amy and Jerry Mulhauser tell NBC Montana they've already switched from incandescent to compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED lights and they're happy with the results. "They came out and did an energy audit and the fellows couldn't believe how low our power bills were for the amount of lights that we have," says Jerry Mulhauser. The Mulhausers tell us since they switched to energy-efficient bulbs their electric bill has dropped nearly 10 percent. "Really the only downfall is that the longevity that's advertised with the CFLs doesn't always come through in the actual use," he adds. Nicholas Hunter is the floor manager at the Eastgate Ace Hardware in Missoula. He says while some people are applauding energy-efficient bulbs, others are shocked at their sticker price. "LEDs are hard to buy because they're expensive," Hunter explains. "They have a very long in-lamp life but they're expensive to start with, so it's kind of one of those you've got to swallow a little hard to buy it the first time." Hunter says a fear of switching to newer bulbs has some people stocking up on the old ones. "They're buying literally dozens of packages of incandescent bulbs because they don't want to ever run out," he says. "They're trying to buy enough to last the rest of their life." We asked the Mulhausers if they think upgrading to energy efficient bulbs was worth the cost. "Absolutely yes, and it's the right thing to do," says Amy Mulhauser. "You can control the color temperature of the light a lot better than you can with incandescent," adds Jerry Mulhauser. The couple says they use more CFLs than LEDs because they're more affordable but they hope to switch to all LEDs in the future. We calculated the price per bulb of some popular selections and found your average incandescent bulb will cost roughly $0.58, a halogen bulb will cost around $1.25, CFLs are roughly $2.40 and the chart topper is the LED which can cost consumers anywhere between $14 to upwards of $60 per bulb.