Light bulbs

Lightbulbs

Def­i­n­i­tion of Gen­er­al Ser­vice Lamps

2017-2021

  • Jan­u­ary 2017

    In Jan­u­ary 2017, DOE released two rules that broad­ened the def­i­n­i­tion of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps” that would be sub­ject to strength­ened effi­cien­cy requirements.

  • April 2017

    Sev­en attor­neys gen­er­al in April 2017 filed a motion to inter­vene in a law­suit in the Fourth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals brought by the indus­try group the Nation­al Elec­tri­cal Man­u­fac­tur­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (NEMA) chal­leng­ing the final rules. Three months lat­er DOE and NEMA set­tled the lit­i­ga­tion by agree­ing to revis­it the final rules that DOE had pub­lished in Jan­u­ary 2017.

  • Feb­ru­ary 2019

    In Feb­ru­ary 2019, DOE issued a notice of a pro­posed rule­mak­ing to revise the def­i­n­i­tion of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps” to exclude approx­i­mate­ly half of the lamps (i.e., near­ly 3 bil­lion) used in com­mon lamp sock­ets. The lamps that are pro­posed for exclu­sion are due to meet more strin­gent ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards by the end of 2019.

  • May 2019

    In May 2019, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Xavier Becer­ra led a coali­tion of six­teen attor­neys gen­er­al in sub­mit­ting com­ments in oppo­si­tion to the pro­posed exclu­sion of near­ly 3 bil­lion lamps from the def­i­n­i­tion of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps. The com­ments not­ed that the pro­pos­al vio­lates the Ener­gy Pol­i­cy Con­ser­va­tion Act (EPCA) pro­vi­sion that pro­hibits DOE from weak­en­ing ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards for appli­ances, includ­ing light­bulbs (anti-back­slid­ing pro­vi­sion). Fur­ther, DOE’s pro­posed action would con­tra­vene the Admin­is­tra­tive Pro­ce­dure Act (APA) as DOE failed to pro­vide an ade­quate expla­na­tion for aban­don­ing the def­i­n­i­tion of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps that was adopt­ed in Jan­u­ary 2017.

  • Sep­tem­ber 2019

    In Sep­tem­ber 2019, DOE ignored the con­cerns of the attor­neys gen­er­al and final­ized the rule. The rule exclud­ed bil­lions of com­mon­ly used flood, globe and oth­er lamps from the def­i­n­i­tion of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps, exempt­ing the lamps from stronger light­bulb ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards. In Novem­ber 2019, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra and New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Leti­tia James led a coali­tion of six­teen attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing a peti­tion for review chal­leng­ing the Sep­tem­ber 2019 final rule as vio­lat­ing the EPCA pro­vi­sion that pro­hibits DOE from weak­en­ing ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards for light­bulbs and the APA for fail­ing to explain the rever­sal of its def­i­n­i­tion of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps.

  • March 2020

    In March 2020, New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al James led the states in fil­ing their proof brief chal­leng­ing the Sep­tem­ber 2019 rule. The brief not­ed that DOE lacked the author­i­ty to pro­mul­gate the rule as it vio­lates EPCA’s anti-back­slid­ing pro­vi­sion and DOE did not ade­quate­ly explain why the anti-back­slid­ing pro­vi­sion should not apply. 

  • June 2020

    In June 2020, DOE filed its proof brief, argu­ing that the depart­ment prop­er­ly with­drew the 2017 rules as it lacked the statu­to­ry author­i­ty to issue the rules in the first place.

Effi­cien­cy Stan­dards for Incan­des­cent Lamps

2017-2021

  • Sep­tem­ber 2019

    In Sep­tem­ber 2019, DOE also released its pro­posed deter­mi­na­tion that ener­gy effi­cien­cy stan­dards in effect for cer­tain incan­des­cent lamps, a sub­set of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps, do not need to be amend­ed and strength­ened. EPCA requires that DOE under­take a rule­mak­ing for gen­er­al ser­vice lamps that deter­mines whether stan­dards in effect for gen­er­al ser­vice incan­des­cent lamps should be amended.

  • Novem­ber 2019

    In Novem­ber 2019, New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al James led a coali­tion of six­teen attor­neys gen­er­al in sub­mit­ting com­ments in oppo­si­tion to the pro­posed deter­mi­na­tion. The attor­neys gen­er­al not­ed that the pro­posed deter­mi­na­tion is not autho­rized by EPCA because DOE did not time­ly make the deter­mi­na­tion and the pro­pos­al would vio­late EPCA’s anti-back­slid­ing provision.

  • Decem­ber 2019

    Ignor­ing the con­cerns raised by the attor­neys gen­er­al, DOE final­ized its deter­mi­na­tion in Decem­ber 2019.

  • Feb­ru­ary 2020

    In Feb­ru­ary 2020, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra and New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al James led a coali­tion of 16 attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing a peti­tion for review chal­leng­ing DOE’s final deter­mi­na­tion for fail­ing to pre­vent back­slid­ing in stan­dards as required under the EPCA and for fail­ing to com­ply with require­ments for agency actions under NEPA.

  • May 2020

    In May 2020, the Sec­ond Cir­cuit grant­ed Col­orado Attor­ney Gen­er­al Phil Weiser’s motion to inter­vene in the lit­i­ga­tion as peti­tion­er chal­leng­ing the Decem­ber 2019 rule.

Effi­cien­cy Stan­dards for Gen­er­al Ser­vice Flu­o­res­cent Lamps and Incan­des­cent Reflec­tor Lamps

2017-2021

  • May 2020

    In May 2020, DOE issued a request for infor­ma­tion to deter­mine whether to amend the cur­rent ener­gy con­ser­va­tion stan­dards for gen­er­al ser­vice flu­o­res­cent lamps (GSFLs) and incan­des­cent reflec­tor lamps (IRLs). IRLs were among the light bulbs includ­ed in DOE’s 2017 rules expand­ing the def­i­n­i­tion of gen­er­al ser­vice lamps (see above), and are there­fore sub­ject to the con­gres­sion­al­ly-imposed min­i­mum stan­dard of 45 lumens per watt.

  • June 2020

    In June 2020, Cal­i­for­nia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Becer­ra and New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al James led a coali­tion of six­teen attor­neys gen­er­al in fil­ing com­ments empha­siz­ing that the law requires DOE to apply EPCA’s statu­to­ry back­stop” stan­dard of 45 lumens per watt for IRLs. The coali­tion explained that any review of IRLs based on DOE’s erro­neous 2019 rule would be unlaw­ful and with­out effect.