California Gets a Green Light To Enforce Stricter Light Bulb Standards

Published On
Jan 13, 2020

The path towards change isn’t always straight.

As the federal government rolls back the standard on light bulb efficiency, at least one state is moving forward.

Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an order denying a request for a temporary restraining order against the state’s standard.

The request was made by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the American Lighting Association in their lawsuit challenging the standard adopted by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in November of last year.

The lighting industry groups argued that CEC’s action was preempted by the federal Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA), but the court ruled that California legitimately exercised its powers under certain exemptions that were granted in the federal law.

Last November, the CEC adopted a 45-lumens-per-watt energy conservation standard for five types of general service lamps. The standard was scheduled to take effect January 1, of this year. It was an expansion of a standard covering common pear-shaped A-lamps that had already been in effect in California since 2018. The more recent action broadened the reach of that standard to cover most other types of incandescent and halogen bulbs, and will lead to their removal from retail shelves.

The new standard was also similar to the Obama Administration’s 2017 update to the EPCA. However, last year the Trump Administration rejected that standard and instead amended an earlier, less stringent version back into the law, essentially rolling back efficiency in the light bulb industry.

That’s not all.

In November 2018, California and New York, representing a coalition of 16 states and the City of New York, filed a lawsuit against the federal government against its actions regarding the EPCA. The lawsuit alleges that the rollback of the energy efficiency requirements for certain lightbulbs would unlawfully delay the adoption of energy efficiency goals, undermine state and local energy policy and increase consumer and environmental costs.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at

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