The Fight Against Light Bulb Standards Burns Out

On July 12th, a vote in the House of Representatives to repeal light bulb efficiency standards failed by a count of 233-193. The new standards, which would set benchmarks for efficiency in lighting that are technology neutral, are slated to take effect in early 2012. Republicans are claiming that the legislation limits consumers’ choice in light fixtures, and that government would be overreaching to involve itself in the market for light bulbs.

However, manufacturers have already developed incandescent bulbs that meet the proposed standards. These bulbs would be available to consumers who are interested in purchasing incandescent bulbs. The upfront cost of fluorescent bulbs can be higher by as much as five dollars, but more expensive bulbs pay off in months with energy savings and lower replacement rates. The more efficient incandescent bulbs are priced similarly to old models, especially considering energy savings. The regulation as it stands has the support of both activists and industry.

Industry and White House estimates propose figures for national savings that are in the $6-12 billion range, with savings increasing each year. Improved light bulb efficiency would reduce energy costs for households by 7%, and also reduce energy waste and emissions from electricity production. Polling finds that generally people like the new bulbs and the savings they provide.

Huffington Post coverage of the Light Bulb Act is available here.

Prepared by Charlotte Ambrozek, Intern

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