There are only a few months to go before a long-awaited ban on inefficient light bulbs kicks in. And even though Congressional opponents of the regulation failed yesterday in their bid to stop it, they have vowed to continue to fight for your right to buy cheap light bulbs that run up high electric bills.
“The issue is too important to let it go away,” said Rep. Joe Barton of Texas. “It is the perfect symbol of government over regulation and that is why we will continue to look for avenues to bring this bill up and ultimately repeal the de facto ban on traditional light bulbs.”
Therein lies the problem with his argument. Opponents like Barton have painted the new light bulb rules as a ban on all incandescent bulbs, but it’s not.
While you won’t be able to purchase the cheapo 100W bulb for your Easy-Bake Oven, consumers can still purchase incandescent bulbs that meet higher efficiency standards.
Another Texas Congressman, Michael Burgess says it’s a matter of giving consumers a choice to buy something at a lower price: “The new bulbs cost more and at a time when American families are already tightening their budgets, they should be able to choose the standard inexpensive bulb that has been available for years.”
But the National Resource Defense Council report compared a 72W efficient incandescent bulb, priced at $1.50, to a $.31 100W standard incandescent. It found that both bulbs were rated to last around 18 months, but the energy savings on the more efficient bulb would make up for the cost difference in only seven months. “For the remaining 11 months the product operates, I’m making money,” writes the NRDC.
Consumers Union’s Michelle Schaefer chimes in, “The lighting standards scheduled to go into effect next year could help to save consumers billions of dollars in energy costs while helping to reduce utility bills and ease the strain on American pocketbooks. Lighting accounts for 10 to 15% of household electricity use, and is one of the cheapest efficiency upgrades available to consumers. By repealing these standards, we would increase consumer energy costs, waste energy, and diminish the lighting choices available to consumers.”
Barton’s bulb battle isn’t over [Houston Chronicle]