July 25, 2009

Incandescent bulb plant on way out

The General Electric Co. may close its last U.S. plant making incandescent light bulbs next year, the company said.

A final decision will be made on the Winchester Lamp Plant in Virginia in 60 days, The Winchester (Va.) Star reported. The likely closing date would be July 2010.

Meantime, company employees have a chance to submit ideas to keep the plant open. Officials said the ideas would be seriously considered.

The plant employs 203 people, about half of them eligible for retirement benefits. The others will receive a package of plant-closing benefits if the factory shuts down.

Incandescent light bulbs have lost favor rapidly in recent years to energy-efficient bulbs and are expected to lose even more ground when new lighting standards go into effect in 2012. Debbie Wexler, a GE spokeswoman, said demand for incandescent has dropped 50 percent.

The Winchester plant opened in 1975.