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Bay Area Retailers Shed Light On Light Bulb Legislation

SAN JOSE (KCBS) - The 100-watt light bulb just isn't what it used to be. In fact, it's not even around anymore, having been replaced by the 72-watt bulb.

The change isn't optional, but the result of a new law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2011, designed to make California more energy efficient.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

If the shelves of local hardware stores were any indication, 100-watt incandescent light bulbs were hard - if not impossible - to come by.

"The incandescent bulbs section is probably one-quarter of what it was two years ago. They've all been replaced by LEDs and the CFLs," explained San Jose Orchard Supply Hardware store manager Alex Cassimus.

The replacement, a 72-watt bulb, simply uses less energy.

"You have to figure that if you're using only 72 actual watts instead of 100, now you're saving 28 watts of electricity and we as a company sell thousands of these," said Cassimus. "The good news is that your power bill should go down because in your house, that is something like over 25% of your energy usage, in your lights."

Customer Jerry Crawford described the energy savings as dramatic.

"We switched over to the CFLs and it made a big difference," Crawford offered. "Yeah, we've saved significantly on it I think. Our electric bill went down significantly, I couldn't tell you exactly what it was, but it did."

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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