Lightbulb shortage as 100watt ban looms

TRADERS are reporting shortages of 100watt light bulbs as customers race to bag the last before the law bans them - including a woman who stockpiled 200 in one fell-swoop.

Will Clarke

TRADERS are reporting shortages of 100watt light bulbs as customers race to bag the last before the law bans them - including a woman who stockpiled 200 in one fell-swoop.

It is hoped the switch to florescent eco-friendly bulbs announced in 2007 will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by around five million tonnes-a-year.

But it seems old habits die hard and - particularly with many people complaining that the energy saving bulbs do not throw out enough light and are not as attractive as the old fashioned kind.


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At Hudgies Hardware in Clare, near Sudbury, the traditional bulbs have been flying out of the door with most customers buying four or five at a time.

Shop manager David Sleath said: “People have been buying them in some numbers including one lady who bought 200.

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“She likes the bulbs for her hallway. She has tried the fluorescent kind but she doesn't like the light. They will be made until September and then after that they will become scarce.

“I have about 200 in stock and more on order but wholesalers are cleaned out so I don't know when they will arrive.”

Rosie Harper, manager of Mumfords dry cleaning and hardware store in High Street, Southwold, said they sold out of 100 watt light bulbs a fortnight ago - and have not been able to get any since.

“At the moment all we have is 40 and 60 watt bulbs,” she said. “We can't get the 100 watt bulbs at all. Everyone just came in and bought them - that was about two weeks ago. We haven't been able to get any more since. We didn't keep a vast amount - only about 24 - but they have all gone.”

Melvin Robinson, owner of Richardson's Hardware, Garrick Way, Ipswich, said he had just put in an order for 200 more 100 watt light bulbs because demand had been so high.

“We've sold out completely,” he said. “However, the situation is still a little confusing. There's no question that the old style incandescent bulbs are going - we just don't know if they're disappearing completely because they might be made in a new size. We just have to wait and see.”

The new bulbs use just a quarter of the energy of a conventional bulb. Replacing just one ordinary 100 watt can knock �7 a year off a household energy bill.

By 2010, 60watt bulbs will start to be phased out and all incandescent bulbs will be banned by 2012.

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