Old School Incandescent Bulbs Get 9-Month Stay Of Execution

In spite of the fact that regulations to phase out high-wattage incandescent bulbs were signed into law in 2007, the ability to buy antiquated, inefficient lighting somehow became a lightning rod topic in recent months. And so legislators who want to defend your right to waste electricity (and still be able to use your old Easy Bake Oven) managed to find a way to stave off enforcing the rules until next fall.

Buried in a deal to avert a government shutdown is a provision that prevents the Department of Energy from spending any money to implement or enforce the light bulb regulations that were set to kick in after the new year. The reprieve is slated to end on Sept. 30, 2012.

Even though most light bulb manufacturers have stated their support for the regulations, opponents claim that it’s not fair that people should be forced to pay more for light bulbs — even though compact fluorescent lights and high-efficiency incandescent bulbs will save several times the additional cost over the life of the bulb.

Earlier this week, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, and the National Consumers League sent a letter to both Senate and House members outlining the consumer benefits that would be lost if these standards were abandoned.

“Lighting accounts for 10-15% of household electricity use, and is one of the cheapest efficiency upgrades available to consumers,” wrote the group. “Repealing lighting standards would undermine consumer savings, drive up costs for efficient lighting, and increase demand on the power grid, which increases the cost of electricity.”