If one doesn't have candles for shabbat, may one say a blessing on light bulbs? Since the point is to have light for שלום בית (household serenity), it would seem that electric lights would have the same status as candles.
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From Torah.org I glean that:
Teshuvos Beis Yitzchak Yorah Daiya 120; Machaze Avraham 41; Melamed Leho'il 47; Harav Y.Y. Henkin (Eidus l'Yisrael, pg. 122) hold that it is permissible to use electricity for Shabbos candles and the proper blessing may be recited.
Teshuvos Levushei Mordechai Orach Chaim 3:59; Maharshag 2:107; Pekudas Elazer 22; Tchebiner Rav (quoted in Shraga ha-Meir 5:11) hold that it is not proper to use electric lights for this Mitzvah.
Har Tzvi 2:114 quoting the Rogatchover Gaon; Mishpatei Uziel Orach Chaim 1:7; Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling quoted in The Radiance of Shabbos, 2, note 26) hold it is permissible to use electrical lights, but the blessing should not be recited over them.
And I quote:
Both rabbis agree that one can use incandescent (preferably unfrosted) light bulbs in a "pressing situation," (eg. fire hazard, or you don't have candles).
Ask your rabbi for practical applications.
Regarding the second part of your question:
Two reasons are given for lighting shabbat candles:
Since the light source of a bulb fulfills both these criteria, it should theoretically be permissable.
Most Poskim do, however, make a distinction between battery powered lights and alternative current lights that run from a power outlet. Since the former runs on battery power, they are running on a fuel much akin to oil, whereas the latter is supplied by a constant piping of electrical current.
I actually did read once that Rav Moshe Feinstein (ZATZAL) had in fact recited the Berakhah over a flashlight when at a hotel that wouldn't permit lighting the candles.
I think the consensus is to light the candles whenever possible. If candles cannot be lit due to a hazard or prohibition of some sort (hospitals), then you recur to lighting a bulb.