How many representatives does it take to repeal lightbulb efficiency standards? We’ll likely get the answer later today when the House votes on legislation that would repeal efficiency standards for lightbulbs put in place four years ago. Consumers Union thinks that’s a really bad idea and has joined other consumer groups to argue against the repeal. Also opposing the action is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which represents lightbulb manufacturers. [Update: Vote has been delayed.]
Is this all based on a misunderstanding? As Consumers Union points out in an ad, incandescent bulbs have not been banned. Signed by George W. Bush, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires lightbulb manufacturers to improve the efficiency of incandescent bulbs by 25 percent. The law doesn’t ban incandescents and doesn’t require the use of compact fluorescent lightbulbs. All it mandates is that lightbulbs be made better. Doing so can save the average homeowner $100 a year in energy costs.
“Consumers Union believes H.R. 2417 should be rejected, along with any other legislation that seeks to roll back the 2007 energy efficiency standards for light bulbs. Several other consumers organizations have joined us in this stance, including the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, and National Consumers League,” says Consumers Union on its website.
At Consumer Reports, we’ve been testing the new energy-efficient lightbulbs in our labs. Our latest report will be online and on newsstands in early September. In the meantime, you can check our report on CFLs and LEDs (light emitting diodes).