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Background of the recent “light bulb wars”

The Better Use of Light Bulb Act of 2010 (H.R. 6144) was recently introduced by Representative Joe Barton (R – TX) and co-sponsored by Representative Burgess (R – TX) and Rep. Blackburn (R – TN). This bill is designed to undo the portion of EISA 2007 which raises the minimum required efficacy of screw base 40W – 100W A-lamps. Here is the exact wording of the bill:

This Act may be cited as the `Better Use of Light Bulbs Act'.

(a) In General- Subtitle B of title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140) is repealed.

(b) Application- The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.) shall be applied and administered as if subtitle B of title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (and the amendments made by that subtitle) had not been enacted.

Basically, H.R. 6144 repeals certain amendments made by EISA 2007 to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.


One way to look at this is that some of our legislators really care about saving the incandescent A-lamp. Another possibility is that this is somewhat politically motivated due to the upcoming mid-term elections. Either way, it is unsure at the moment whether this bill has enough support to pass.

This issue has been debated and negotiated to the fullest prior to Congress enacting EISA 2007. It was agreed by most stakeholders at that time that it was possible to accelerate the phase-in of more efficient light sources that could effectively replace the traditional A-lamp in most applications. The alternative could have been worse. Congress (and the DOE) was looking to enact even more stringent regulations that would have been highly onerous and detrimental to lighting applications (what would you think about a mandated minimum efficacy of 60 lpw for light sources!). In the end, it appeared that the compromise ultimately reached in EISA 2007 was agreeable (if not desirable) to all parties and prevented the possibility of a worse scenario.

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