The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed a new set of stricter energy efficiency standards for light bulbs.
The scheme, published in the Federal Register on August 9, sets new efficiency standards for around 2 billion bulbs, including those in decorative fixtures, recessed, and track lighting. Many of these types of bulbs had not been regulated under previous efficiency standards.
Because many of the most popular types of bulbs are unable to meet the new efficiency standards, should the rule be finalized, billions of popular light bulbs would be banned from sale.
More to Come
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) alters the definition of general service lamps and general service incandescent lamps in order to bring more bulbs under federal rules.
Meanwhile, the DOE has said it is still considering whether it should initiate a “backstop,” or minimum efficacy standard to bring an additional 3.4 billion bulbs—practically the entire market for common bulbs—under federal standards.
If the plan goes through, this could take a whole new classes of incandescent and halogen bulbs off the shelves. This has resulted in manufacturers requesting DOE allow a transition period in order to sell the existing, currently compliant, bulbs that would be non-compliant under the rules being considered.
The DOE’s plan is part of the Biden’s administration efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. The Appliance Standards Awareness Project, which favors the stricter regulations, estimates the new proposal, and the “backstop” proposal being considered would avoid up to 9.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
In early 2017, just before President Obama left office, his administration extended energy efficiency rules to more types of bulbs, than had previous administrations.
However, the Trump administration reversed the Obama-era expansion in response to a lawsuit filed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association in 2017.
‘Arbitrary Exit Deadline’
The Biden administration is setting a random timeline to rob consumers of choice, says Merrill Matthews, Jr.. Ph.D., a resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation.
“The Biden administration has set another arbitrary exit deadline that experts claim is too rapid, saying the administration needs to allow a little more time for a smooth transition in order to avoid confusion and waste,” Matthews said. “In this case, it’s not the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, but the U.S. exit from standard, incandescent light bulbs.
“What is this administration’s problem with allowing for smooth transitions?,” asks Matthews.
The Biden administration claims it needs to accelerate the transition from incandescent light bulbs to more energy-efficient bulbs, to help consumers, and especially low-income households, save money, says Matthews, but they are capable of making their own decisions about what products provide the best value for their money.
“Once again, progressive bureaucrats are on a mission to tell consumers what’s best for them, and to ensure they have few or no other options if consumers don’t agree,” Matthews said. “Ironically, light bulb manufacturers have been transitioning to the new type of light bulbs for some time.
“Many bulbs available on store shelves today already comply with the new requirements, so consumers can choose them if they want them,” said Matthews. “So, it’s not clear why the need for a forced, rapid transition to the newer bulbs unless the Biden administration is once again engaged in virtue signaling to its progressive base.”
‘Regardless of the Cost’
What the Biden Administration is doing is illegal and contrary to the wishes of consumers, says Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research.
“Congress never intended the DOE to force all types of lightbulbs to be LED, but that’s exactly what the Obama Administration, and now the Biden Administration, are trying to do,” Pyle said.
“Americans should be able to choose the lightbulbs that make the most sense for their applications.
“The Biden administration is trying to force increased energy efficiency regardless of the cost,” said Pyle. “If the lawsuit over the Obama administration’s regulations similar to these would have gone to court, the DOE would have lost, and if a lawsuit is filed to challenge these new rules, DOE will lose it, too, because the law does mandate all types of lightbulbs to only be LEDs.”
Kenneth Artz (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes from Dallas, Texas.