Bill Restricts DOE Funding on Enforcement of Incandescent Phase-Out

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), which represents more than 95 percent of the U.S. lighting manufacturing industry, recently addressed the lighting standards established in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) and recent Congressional action to encumber the onset of the 100-watt incandescent phase-out.

According to NEMA, a rider related to general service lamps on the fiscal year 2012 Omnibus funding bill does not repeal or adjust the standards themselves or their effective timeline. NEMA did not support the inclusion of this rider, which imposes funding limitations on the Department of Energy (DOE) to enforce the lamp standards for fiscal year 2012.

NEMA said this rider raises numerous concerns for manufacturers, consumers and other industry partners:

• “American manufacturers have invested millions of dollars in transitioning to energy-efficient lighting as a result of the EISA 2007 provision. Delay in enforcement undermines those investments and creates regulatory uncertainty.”

• “The inability of DOE to enforce the standards would allow those who do not respect the rule of law to sell inefficient light bulbs in the United States without fear of enforcement, creating a competitive disadvantage for compliant manufacturers.”

• “EISA 2007 gave state attorneys general the authority to enforce the standards. A lack of DOE enforcement will create consumer confusion resulting from a patchwork of state enforcement and will place manufacturers in an intolerable position due to uneven and potentially unpredictable enforcement.”

NEMA reiterated its earlier position that EISA 2007 does not ban incandescent light bulbs. Consumers will have expanded lighting options that include energy-efficient advanced incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and new lighting technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Lighting accounts for about 12 percent of energy use in homes. While individual home usage varies, it is estimated that the average household savings associated with this transition is more than $100 per year, every year going forward.

Overall, national energy savings from the new standards is estimated at $10–15 billion per year, depending on assumptions of usage and which technology is selected to replace traditional incandescent lamps.

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