Lights Out For Bulb Lawsuit
Sonora, CA – California’s updated light bulb efficiency standards will be switched on in the new year.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller of Sacramento rejected a petition from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the American Lighting Association to temporarily block new minimum efficiency standards for light bulbs, which the California Energy Commission adopted in November. The associations’ main argument in the lawsuit; that the state rules conflict with federal law, is one that is not likely to succeed according to Mueller.
Mueller points to exemptions given to California and Nevada allowing for special privileges. In granting the exemptions, “Congress recognized, among other things, California’s history of leadership in energy efficiency regulations,” Mueller wrote.
In September, President Donald Trump’s administration scrapped an Energy Department rule that would have phased out less energy-efficient incandescent bulbs nationwide. That decision slowed a yearlong effort by Congress and previous administrations to switch the nation to LED bulbs and other lighting that uses less electricity.
Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency Standards at the Natural Resources Defense Council Noah Horowitz in a statement praised Mueller’s ruling that “keeps California at the forefront of the movement to resist the Trump Department of Energy’s efforts to tie Americans to the technology of the past,” He went on to blasted bulb manufacturers noting “Given our climate crisis, it’s appalling that the greedy lighting manufacturers are still fighting these common-sense regulations that deliver massive carbon savings and put money back in consumers’ pockets.” The change is expected to save Californians as much as $2.4 billion annual on utility bills.
In contrast, the American Lighting Association’s vice president for government engagement, Michael Weems, countered that the decision sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to federal preemption, “and the consumers of California will suffer as a result.” He explains, “Retailers will be burdened with a perfectly good product that is now illegal for sale in California. Consumer access to these products is effectively eliminated.”
The bulbs included in the new regulation taking effect Wednesday (Jan. 1st) include incandescent and halogen candle- and flame-shaped bulbs used in chandeliers and sconces, recessed can reflector bulbs and round globe bulbs for track lighting, and those that can operate at three different light levels.