Congress and the President are set to pass a spending bill that will, among other things, defund the enforcement of the EISA light bulb standards for the 2012 fiscal year. While this means that the Department of Energy (DOE) will have no funding to enforce the standards until October 2012, the standards themselves remain in place.
- The details of the new provision, like the standards themselves, have been misreported. The lighting standards have not been delayed or repealed.
- Efficiency standards will remain in place with a January 1, 2012 effective date (effective date refers to date of manufacture, not sales. Retailers can still “sell through” their inventories beyond January 1st).
- This provision simply eliminates funding to DOE to enforce them.
- DOE is still trying to determine what enforcement mechanisms remain. In the meantime, EISA 2007 stipulated that state attorneys general have authority to enforce the standards in their states.
- Manufacturers (NEMA) support EISA standards and have put millions of dollars behind EE lighting (NEMA press release).
- This recent change may undermine those investments by opening the door to unscrupulous players, creating a competitive disadvantage for complying manufacturers.
- This provision will likely cause more consumer confusion than any actual marketplace non-compliance.
- Reinforces need to continue education around the standards themselves. Remember, the standards do not remove all incandescent products from the market (only the least efficient) and they do not require consumers to buy CFLs.
- Visit the LUMEN Coalition Website for more information about the lighting standards and their effect on the lighting marketplace.