Old-style 75-watt and 100-watt light bulbs are a hot and rare commodity in Kamloops now that retailers are being forced to transition to more energy efficient lighting.
"That first week (of the year) we sold probably two-dozen cases of bulbs," Suzette Pelletier, assistant manager of Light Your World, said Tuesday.
"There's 24 bulbs in a case. One gentleman grabbed three cases."
As of Jan. 1 the province is only allowing retailers to sell incandescent 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs until supplies run out. Pelletier said the restrictions don't yet apply to other wattages, but the ban is expected to expand to 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs next year.
The 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs are the most popular, she said. The Tranquille Road store has 500 more bulbs on back order. The shipment should arrive by the end of the month.
The province has said it wants electricity to be used more efficiently, and one way is to switch to bulbs that produce about the same amount of light using less power.
But Pelletier said customers prefer the warm light cast by the incandescent bulbs and have heard horror stories about the compact fluorescent lights (CFL) touted as replacements. The bulbs have been known to cause fires and burn people.
The province is also promoting the use of halogen and LED bulbs.
Pelletier has heard box stores have pulled the incandescents from their shelves. That isn't the case in the city's two Canadian Tire stores, but the bulbs are hard to keep in stock.
Mike Tourond, the stores' general manager, said sales of 100-watt bulbs in January have almost matched those in 2010.
He said 446 100-watt four packs were sold last year while 340 have moved since Jan. 1.
The lights are also disappearing from The Lampost downtown. Owner Todd Pino said he has 7,500 on back order. Once they arrive, that will be it.
"We currently have some in stock," he said, adding he expects the 200 or so bulbs will sell fast.