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US switches off the incandescent lightbulb

Energy bill marks end for Edison's bright idea

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US prez George W. Bush yesterday signed a "landmark" energy bill which will see the nation's incandescent lightbulbs phased out in favour of low-consumption alternatives.

The bill requires lighting to use "up to 30 per cent less energy", Reuters explains, effectively outlawing the 125-year-old Edison invention. The bill takes effect for the 100-watt bulb in 2012, followed by the 75-watt bulb in 2013 and 40 and 60-watt varieties in 2014.

Once the US's estimated 4bn light sockets are fitted with energy-efficient alternatives, household utility bills will be slashed by more than $18bn a year, while the atmosphere will be spared 100m tons of power plant carbon dioxide emissions.

Although the intial outlay for planet-hugging illumination is greater, the pay-back to the consumer is greatly extended life and said savings on their elecricity bills.

Around two dozen categories of lightbulbs are exempt from the new law. These include "oven and refrigerator bulbs, candelabra lamps, plant lights, replacement traffic signal bulbs". ®

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