Tim Stubbert, owner of Ace Hardware in Peachland, sorts through incandescent bulbs in his store. The bulbs are being phased out due to a federal ban, but Stubbert says he will sell them as long as he can stock them.
Stores can no longer order in the 75-watt and 100-watt traditional bulbs because of a federal ban that took effect New Year's Day, but they can sell off their existing stocks.
And sell them they are, quickly, particularly to customers dismayed by the prospect of being able to buy only more-expensive compact fluorescent lamps (CFL bulbs) and light-emitting diodes (LED bulbs) in the future.
"I think a lot of people object to being force-fed these other kind of bulbs," Tim Stubbert, owner of Ace Hardware in Peachland, said Friday. "They're like, 'What? The government is telling me what kind of light bulb I have to use?'" Stubbert said.
"I'll keep selling the incandescent bulbs as long as I can get them in stock."
At the Home Hardware store on Springfield Road in Kelowna, manager Russ Hickson said the incandescent bulbs have been a popular item in the past few weeks.
"We've had a little bit of a rush on them," Hickson said. "I think a lot of people were stocking up on them in advance of the ban coming into effect."
The 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent bulbs will be added to the banned list on New Year's Day 2015.
Federal officials say the phase-out of incandescent bulbs will reduce Canadian greenhouse-gas emissions by more than six million tonnes a year and save the average homeowner about $60 annually in electricity costs. Ninety per cent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb escapes as heat rather than light.
But critics say the greenhouse-gas savings from the newer light bulbs are inconsequential measured against the total volume of emissions from all sources.
Also, they note the savings in a homeowner's electrical bills will be offset by the higher price of the CFL bulbs, which can cost four to six times as much as an incandescent.
Others are concerned about the possible health risks posed by the mercury that's contained in CFLs and LEDs. Because they include mercury, the bulbs cannot be put into the regular garbage stream or curbside recycling containers when they burn out. (For drop-off locations, see lightrecycle.ca.)
A Conservative MP has started a campaign to convince her own government to repeal the ban on incandescent bulbs. Cheryl Gallant, representative for the Ontario riding of Renfrew-Nippising-Pembroke, has launched the website stopthelightbulbban.ca.
"The incandescent light bulb is safe and affordable," Gallant said.