Biden administration’s lightbulb ban

(Photo illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
Updated 12:13 am – Saturday, April 1, 2023

As part of its energy efficiency and climate agenda, the Biden administration is considering a nationwide ban on commonly used light bulbs.

The regulation is expected to be finalized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in April 2022 and take effect on August, 2023. New regulations prohibit the sale of incandescent light bulbs by retailers.

As new regulations come into force, incandescent and similar halogen bulbs will no longer be available and will be replaced by light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In recent years, more and more US homes have switched to LED light bulbs, but less than half of all US homes use LEDs alone.

Reportedly, 47% of households use LED bulbs primarily or exclusively, 15% primarily use incandescent or halogen bulbs, and 12% primarily use compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). The remaining 26% do not use the main type.

Survey data shows that LEDs are more popular with high-income households, which points to the fact that low-income Americans will be more affected by the new regulations. The data shows that 54% of households earning over $100,000 a year use LEDs, while only 39% of households earning less than $20,000 a year use LEDs.

According to the DOE, the new regulation will save consumers about $3 billion a year in utility bills and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 220 million tons over the next 30 years.

Last year, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm argued that the lighting industry was already adopting energy-efficient products and the new regulation would help speed up that process.

“The lighting industry is already adopting more energy efficient products,” she said. “And this move will accelerate progress to provide American consumers with the best products and build a better, brighter future.”

A letter from a coalition of free market and consumer groups opposing the ban on incandescent bulbs wrote to the Department of Energy last year protesting the new regulations, arguing that LEDs are more expensive and that certain functions such as dimming are inferior,” he said.

“Given that more energy-efficient lighting options, namely light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, are already available to consumers who prefer LED bulbs to incandescent bulbs, further regulatory interference in the market is unwarranted. We believe there is,” the letter said. “LEDs are more efficient and generally last longer than incandescent bulbs, but they are currently more expensive than incandescent bulbs and lack certain features such as dimming. It’s best to have a choice between incandescent bulbs and LEDs instead of doing that.”

The letter goes on to say that claims of potential climate benefits from regulation are simply “speculative, hypothetical and prone to bias.”

The Trump administration has previously tried to protect incandescent light bulbs and let consumers choose which products they want to use, but the new regulations reverse those attempts.

Environmental groups have praised the Biden administration’s aggressive move to ban incandescent light bulbs.

Joe Bukovich, an energy efficiency advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the phasing out of inefficient obsolete light bulbs has been delayed for a long time as it has been illegally delayed by the Trump administration for more than two years. “LED bulbs, which replace older incandescent bulbs, use one-sixth the energy to deliver the same amount of light and last at least ten times longer.”

The move comes amid more than a dozen energy efficiency rules covering a wide range of home appliances, including gas stoves and lawn mowers.

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