Last night, Congress voted to prohibit the
Department of Energy from spending money to enforce a law that it ‘put on the
books’ in 2007, namely technology-neutral, light bulb efficiency standards that
can save Americans money and energy.
By attempting to reverse itself, the Congress
is putting into jeopardy significant savings for consumers – – $12 billion a
year – – as well as the enormous potential benefits to the country – – annual
reduction in electricity use equivalent to 30 power plants and reduction in
pollution equivalent to that produced by 14 million cars.
The enactment of the light bulb standards in
2007 was supported by members from both sides of the political divide and was
signed into law by President George W. Bush. And, importantly, the
standards reflected the input and consensus of light bulb manufacturers who
continue to support this money and energy-saving law.
To reap the full benefits of the law, we must
give the Department of Energy the ability to enforce it. Doing so will
help protect manufacturers that have been working since 2007 to ensure that a
huge variety of new, efficient, money-saving lighting products – including
halogen incandescent bulbs and highly-efficient CFLs (compact fluorescent light
bulbs) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are available to consumers as we begin
the transition to better lighting.
“When consumers try the new bulbs, they
are overwhelmingly pleased with them. Two-thirds of Americans support the
lighting standard (61 percent call it a good law), and 84 percent are satisfied
or very satisfied with the alternative bulbs, according to a USA Today/Gallup
poll (February 2011). According to a Consumer Reports survey, 77 percent of
consumers selected an efficient product the last time they changed a light
The Alliance to Save Energy is chagrined that
the Congress is seeking to keep America ‘in the dark ages’ of lighting even as
the rest of the world — led by China, Europe, Australia — marches forward
toward better and more efficient lighting products.