4:11:14 Update on Stockpiling Light Bulbs

Congress passed a law banning sale, manufacture, and import of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs after October 2012. That's why I stockpiled the 100-watt icons of Thomas Alva Edison's inventive genius back then. I wrote about it here and I was interviewed by nbcnews.com here.

Still my poking around on the Web turned up a loophole of sorts for the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). That loophole exempted several classes of specialty lights, including appliance lamps, rough-service bulbs, 3-way bulbs and others. "Rough-service bulbs" caught my attention. It was meant to apply to light bulbs used for such applications as subway cars where vibration is always a problem. A rough-service incandescent is a ruggedized version with thicker glass, more filament wires, plus a more durable base. Most important, it's wholly compatible with the banned bulbs, and it lasts longer too. No place I frequent in town sells such bulbs. In our local hardware and general stores, I've only seen the higher-priced, energy-saving replacements like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).


I found one website offering rough-service 100-watt bulbs, but why bother buying light bulbs, of all things, online to be shipped to your house? I decided to nurse along my stockpile of light bulbs, prepared for the inevitable runout.

Until today!

I was at DollarTree, glancing at the boxes of 60-watt light bulbs, three for a buck, when I was surprised.

For there was a new light-bulb box--two for a buck and the magic numbers 100. I thought I was seeing things. I picked up the box and read the fine print: Rough Service. Yep, you gotta love DollarTree. They go to their Chinese supplier and get boatloads of bulbs exempt from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, built to ruggedized specs.

I bought $7 worth, or 14 bulbs, which is much more than I'd get buying those spendy CFLs.

Yes, thanks to a federal legislative loophole, maybe Thomas Alva Edison's incomparable invention might have yet another life. Certainly until some congressman, who would have better things to do, strolls through a DollarTree store and sees this egregious flaunting of EISA! But then are not rough-service bulbs somewhat like that long-lived loophole through the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards set in 1975 for all passenger cars, excepting ... and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) that are classified as trucks!? Yep, what I found at DollarTree is some SUV-type exemption, writ small.

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The Cat at Light's End

Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection, The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

.mobi (Kindle)
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)

Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.

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