US lawmakers continue to fight bulb ban

Republicans in the US Congress are trying to stop the enforcement of the country’s ban on incandescent light bulbs, claiming it limits consumer choice.

Last month the House passed an amendment proposed by Representative Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas, to prevent the US Energy Department from enforcing efficiency rules that were introduced with support from both sides of the house under the George W Bush administration 10 years ago.

Burgess, who has opposed the bulb ban for years, said Congress “should fight to preserve the free market” and that the regulations will “take away consumer choice when constituents are deciding which light bulbs they will use in their homes”.

But for lighting manufacturers, incandescent is yesterday’s news. Many, including those represented by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), have said they would voluntary comply with the rules anyway, as they are already overwhelmingly throwing their efforts behind LED.

Critics say that preventing enforcement of the regulations will simply play into the hands of cheap importers of incandescent lamps.

Meanwhile NEMA is also fighting a legal action in California to try to stop California Energy Commission (CEC) regulations designed to control the colour rendering index (CRI) of LED lamps. NEMA says the limits are too prescriptive and consumers should be given the choice, but the CEC says tighter regulation will help ensure consumers don’t have bad experiences with LED lamps.