Stores clearing shelves of energy-efficient supplies : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Stores clearing shelves of energy-efficient supplies

By GREG RISLING The Associated Press 2/4/01 8:08 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Home improvement and hardware stores are selling energy-efficient products at a record pace this year, signaling that Californians are willing to spend a little more to use power more efficiently.

Cold temperatures and the repeated threat of rolling blackouts this year have prompted consumers to invest in fluorescent lightbulbs, insulation and weather stripping.

Fluorescent bulbs, which typically last 10 times longer than incandescent lights, have been the hottest seller. Each sell for $10 to $15.

"We can't keep them in stock," said Michael Moore, an assistant manager at a Lowe's store in Fresno. "In the past, we could keep about 100 fluorescent bulbs on the shelves for about a month. Now, it's a matter of days before we sell out."

More people also are buying portable generators, which average $400 to $750 and can power household appliances during a blackout.

Garth Smith, who runs Dale Hardware in Fremont, said customers have been asking more questions about energy conservation.

The deluge of questions about energy-efficient products has prompted Home Depot to offer free, one-hour clinics to demonstrate cost-saving measures and help customers learn more about their homes.

Ofelia Lerma, 75, of Pasadena has a $300 bi-monthly electricity bill that she expects will drop significantly once she spends $300 to $600 to blanket her attic and basement with insulation.

"If I can reduce my electricity bill, I am certainly going to try," she said. "I think in the long run we will save more money by making the improvements rather than what we pay now for electricity."

Others like Jack Stephanian, who used to leave the lights on most of the day in his La Canada-Flintridge home, is now focusing on reducing power use by installing new windows that reduce heat loss and purchasing a more energy-efficient refrigerator.

"Buying products that will cut your energy bills seem like a smart decision," he said.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 04, 2001

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