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New light bulb standards withstand last-minute attack

Kit Kennedy

Posted December 16, 2011

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If you’ve read about the repeal of the lighting standards – don’t believe the hype. The 2012 lighting standards will proceed as planned, despite some nasty shenanigans afoot in DC.

Late Thursday night, Republicans in Congress – contrary to public desire – inserted a last-minute rider in the federal omnibus spending package in an effort to thwart better bulbs. 

Luckily, they didn’t do it all that well.  The legislative rider pertains only to funding for federal enforcement of federal lighting standards for this fiscal year.  It’s shameful that Republicans would stand in the way of enforcing American laws.  But the rider does not in any way repeal or change the energy efficient lighting standards for bulb manufacturers.

So here’s the bottom line, the standards are moving forward unabated and we are still on pace to save $12 billion per year in the form of lower electric bills and prevent the need for 30 large power plants and all the pollution they generate.

Manufacturers are still making bulbs that meet the energy efficiency standards and consumers are still buying them. In survey after survey, consumers and consumer groups say they want more efficient light bulbs that don’t waste 90 percent of their energy.

And despite what you may have heard from some in Congress, the lighting industry wholeheartedly supports these efficiency standards, and DOES NOT support this rider. Manufacturers have invested millions of dollars retrofitting and expanding plants right here in the United States and hiring new workers to meet the new standards. See here for more information from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which represents 95 percent of the lighting industry.

It’s mind boggling that a handful of politicians would try to stand in the way of these standards and try to block consumers from saving money by reducing their electricity bills. And let’s be clear; incandescent light bulbs are not going away due to the standard, they are just getting better.  The new incandescent bulbs that meet the standard – and there are already many of them on the market -- l use almost 30% less power and look and perform exactly like the old ones.   So if you like the look of old-fashioned bulbs, no problem – the new efficient incandescent bulbs are just the same, but will also save you power and money.


In the end, this rider has nothing to with energy efficiency or federal spending or giving Americans what they want. Instead of listening to consumers, manufacturers, environmental groups and others, Republicans in Congress with this rider are simply kowtowing to anti-government Tea Party ideologues who have been fighting against these energy-saving lighting standards for months.

Thank goodness their efforts have failed. 

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peterdubDec 17 2011 06:22 AM

If saving electricity is such a big deal,

then it, or say coal, could simply be taxed,
to reduce use - rather than lots of petty product regulations
(The government income could help pay for insulation of poorer affected homes – or whatever.
Product bans give no such income!)

Light bulbs don't burn coal - or release CO2 gas.
Power plants might - and might not

This notion of "how great" it is
to instead ban simple safe useful technology
- and yes, it is an effective ban,
on all known incandescents including Halogens (maxing at 25-30 lumen per watt) given the 45 lumen per Watt EISA end-regulation standard

ALL lighting has advantages:
Energy savings is not the ONLY reason
to like a product, the electricity for which you pay for,
and for which moreover any shortage of a finite underlying resource (eg coal) simply raise its price and reduces use anyway
- without legislation.

On Bankrupt California type Liberal Ideology,
an alternative would be to simply tax the more energy using bulbs,
and subsidise cheaper energy saving alternatives that way., so people "not just hit by taxes"
Gov income, Choice, Reduced incandescent use, Raised energy saving use, all in one go.

Although stimulated market competition (supporting new energy efficiency manufacturing to the market, if needs be)
is the simpler more effective solution to deliver desirable energy saving products.
"Expensive to buy but cheap in the long run?" = market them like Energizer bunny batteries....

peterdubDec 17 2011 06:36 AM

It is a pity that the energy saving issue is so confrontational in Congress:

Most of us can agree that it's good to save energy.
But energy efficiency regulations are a bad way to do it, and don't work

for example,
that people simply waste the use of products that effectively become cheaper to use, as Cambridge and Scottish research has found.

"In survey after survey, CONSUMERS and consumer groups say they want more efficient light bulbs that don’t waste 90 percent of their energy."

So what's to stop them buying them then? ;-)

As said in previous comment,
if the bulbs are so great,
then they should be marketed properly
Expense is no barrier - eg the long-lasting battery and other examples

Of course:
to MANUFACTURERS it's much easier to make profits by a ban on unprofitable incandescents at the stroke of a Legislative Pen !
Thats why they lobbied so hard for a ban, and for CFL programs
with documentation and communication copies

Incidentally, the consumer switchover savings are much less for many reasons covered previously, or as listed ont he above linked website
- and for society it's only 1-2% of grid electricity on Dep of Energy figures,
with much more relevant efficiencies obtained in increasing power plant efficiency, grid upgrades, and alternative consumption policies, as described.

Dave ChristianasenDec 17 2011 01:32 PM

It is sad to me to see how so many well meaning people don't get the LARGER issue of individual liberty to choose what is best for us, versus being told by some government bureaucrat. Just who the hell do you people think you are? You are VARY DANGEROUS people. Let the free market dictate what bulbs people use. We live in the USA not Europe or China where people are told what to do and think. WAKE UP!

john christosDec 17 2011 11:21 PM

Another load of garbage from the liberal environmentalists who use the government instead of the free market to force their views on everyone. If Mr Presswood, your federal energy policy director is so interested in saving money for consumers why are you forcing everyone to buy bulbs that are 4- 5 times more expensive than those we now use. Plus they have dangerous mercury, and must be recycled safely to avoid poisoning the landfills. What will you foist on us next - thinner toilet paper to save the trees? Get out of my life.

denisDec 18 2011 01:11 AM

Another reminder that some people really do get all their "news" from Fox.

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