Biden’s ‘bright’ new plan to phase out incandescent lightbulbs over more pricey LED bulbs

President Joe Biden’s regulatory overreach expanded Tuesday when the Department of Energy (DOE) established new rules to eliminate consumer options that former President Donald Trump had defended, likely increasing the short-term financial burdens of the lowest-income Americans.

As part of the progressives’ never-ending green agenda, DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm introduced two new rules that will alter the definition of “general service lamps” and the minimum applicable standard to meet the language. In so doing, the Biden administration will effectively prohibit the sale of traditional incandescent lightbulbs by 2023.

In the official press release from DOE, Granholm states, “By raising energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, we’re putting $3 billion back in the pockets of American consumers every year and substantially reducing domestic carbon emissions.”

“The lighting industry is already embracing more energy efficient products,” she went on without noting they are required to do so by law, “and this measure will accelerate progress to deliver the best products to American consumers and build a better and brighter future.”

These new rules will be added to the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act established under President George W. Bush that was expanded by President Barack Obama. Trump had halted additional regulatory changes implemented by Obama during his final month in office that would have prohibited incandescent bulbs by 2019.

Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy told The New York Times, “LEDs have become so inexpensive that there’s no good reason for manufacturers to keep selling 19th-century technology that just isn’t very good at turning electrical energy into light.”

However, in addition to being, on average, $3 more expensive than their $1 alternative, a 2018 University of Michigan study found that LED bulbs weren’t even available in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Tony Reames, University of Michigan assistant professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability and the Urban Energy Justice Lab director, led the study and said, “The lightbulb price and availability patterns we found point to potential barriers to the adoption of energy-efficient lighting in higher-poverty neighborhoods.”

With figures finding no less than 40 percent of households were living below the federal poverty level, the study showed that no small retail stores carried LEDs for poorer consumers. Meanwhile, 92 percent of outlets did provide incandescent and halogen bulbs.

Furthermore, while lighting company Viribright found that, based on lifespan, one LED bulb that lasted 25,000 hours would save a consumer $17 on purchasing a comparable number of incandescent bulbs that typically last 1,200 hours, the DOE’s savings report is misleading.

The estimated $100 annual benefit to consumers calculates savings based on the total of the dozens of rules they intend to implement throughout the year. It also does not include the potential added costs to retail stores that will need to stock these products, to consumers that may have to go out of their way to locate these products, and to manufacturers that will have to retool their facilities to produce LEDs, which may lead to layoffs.


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Kevin Haggerty


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