Light Bulb Scalping -- A New American Low

Categories: Environment

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Maybe you've seen the sweet 99-cent deal on a box of four compact flourescent light bulbs at Safeway and Costco. I'm sure you thought, "That's like 80 percent off!" and then thought, "My god, when did cheap light bubs become a high point of my pathetic existence?"

At any rate, those bulbs got cheap because California utility payers subsidized the discount. Now, some karma-challenged scalpers have started selling the dull, delicate, short-lived conservation bulbs on eBay.

From Energy-saving bulbs subsidized by California being sold on eBay, by the SFGate.com:

The Utility Reform Network bought from eBay several boxes of compact fluorescent lightbulbs that bore stickers saying they were subsidized by the utilities, in some cases Pacific Gas and Electric Co., in others, Southern California Edison.

A few errant bulbs may not seem like a big deal.

But each bulb was subsidized with money gleaned from the electricity bills Californians pay every month. In return, state energy regulators expected those bulbs to be installed in California, where they would help the state use less electricity.

Supply and demand, baby. It's a bitch.


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