Incandescent light bulb ban causes Quebecers to stockpile

The light bulb aisle at some Quebec stores may be a little busier today than usual.

Ban on 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs went into effect Jan. 1

Adrienne Piggot says fluorescent lights cause her to experience debilitating migraines, so she's stockpiling incandescents as a result of the new federal ban. (CBC)

The light bulb aisle at some Quebec stores may be a little busier today than usual.

A federal ban on 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs made before 2012 came into effect on Jan. 1.

The ban, seven years in the making, is a measure implemented by the Canadian government to improve energy efficiency and therefore reduce greenhouse gases.

But it has people like Adrienne Piggot stockpiling incandescent bulbs.

“The fluorescent light bulb will often give me a headache, or in the worst case actually cause a migraine, in which case I’m in big trouble and I need all kinds of medication,” Piggot says.

“I have really debilitating migraines. The light from incandescents doesn’t affect my head,” she continues.

She also points to the cost of fluorescent light bulbs. A box of four incandescent bulbs is going for $1.49 at Canadian Tire, whereas the least expensive box of two compact fluorescent bulbs is $4.99.

Hydro-Québec spokesman Louis-Olivier Batty says it’s a small price to pay to help the environment.

“We’re talking about 75 per cent less energy consumed by a compact fluorescent bulb than an incandescent,” he says.

For now, the ban comprises 75- and 100-watt incandescents made before 2012, but 40- and 60-watt bulbs will follow by next year.


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