Incandescent light bulbs being phased out

MOSCOW, ID - You may be seeing the new year in a new light thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act.

With a new year comes new policies, and new light bulbs. As of January 1st 2013, the 75-watt incandescent light bulb will no longer be manufactured or imported into the United States due to the Energy Independence and Security Act.

"We have anticipated this because we knew it was coming down the pike," said Tri-State hardware Buyer Jim Stephens.

The 100-watt bulb was phased out earlier this year, and the 40 and 60 watt bulbs will be phased out in 2014. The idea is to get rid of the old-fashioned incandescents, and replace them longer lasting bulbs that burn less energy.

"You can still buy them," said Stephens. "Because the consumer is allowed to purchase them out of old stock. So if you want them, you better get them."

Once there aren't any left on the shelves, you'll have a few alternatives. A halogen bulb looks similar and it's the least expensive option. It costs about twice as much as the incandescent.

"And if you notice the difference, this has a filament inside, and if you see in there, you see a very tiny light bulb within a light bulb," said Stephens.

Or you could get a compact fluorescent bulb, or CFL. They'll cost a little more money, but they have a very long life span.

"It's typically your spiral bulb, that most people equate with, 'Ooh, I don't like it.' said Stephens. "But we now have them that are instant-on, so you can go over, flick the light switch, and it immediately comes on."

But if you want the latest in light bulb technology, you'll go for the LED... If you aren't repelled by the initial sticker shock.

"Like the computer, the prices now are high," said Stephens. "It's a new technology."

It may sound crazy to spend fifty bucks on a bulb, but they can last for decades and save you money on your energy bill. So it may be worth the investment.

"It is, as long as you're not an old person," said Stephens. "I look at the light bulb and think,'Hmmm, am I going to have another 22 years?"

Stephens jokes about these new bulbs, but he says it's time to move away from the old incandescent ones.

"It's something we can't fight," said Stephens. "It's a world-wide movement."

Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, and even though it says that 75-watt incandescents can no longer be produced in the U.S. in 2013, stores that have some left on the shelves are still allowed to sell them.