Attorney General Becerra Intervenes in Lawsuit To Defend Energy Efficiency Standards

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – Building on his recent actions to protect federal energy efficiency standards, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, with the California Energy Commission and six Attorneys General, filed a motion late yesterday to intervene in a lawsuit in order to defend energy saving light bulb regulations. In March, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) challenging energy efficiency regulations for lamps (light bulbs). California defends these laws to safeguard their massive energy savings and will fight any efforts that threaten to weaken or delay their implementation. 

“If industry special interests are unwilling to accept commonsense energy efficiency rules, California stands ready to protect businesses and consumers,” said Attorney General Becerra. “These simple light bulb rules have an outsized impact. Consumers save billions of dollars on their electric bills and we eliminate millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions.”

"This action demonstrates California's continued commitment to a world of cleaner energy," said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. "Energy efficiency standards are the first step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction of wasteful energy use saves consumers money and benefits the environment while strengthening the economy.”

The challenged regulations broaden the definition of a category of lamp that is subject to stringent energy standards so that it now includes incandescent light bulbs as well as other historically inefficient lighting technologies. The lamp regulations were finalized in January 2017 and would result in substantial reductions in energy usage and the associated emissions, as well as increased cost savings for consumers. Specifically, they are expected to save approximately 27 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of energy cumulatively over thirty years, saving consumers $120 billion and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1,400 million metric tons. By moving to intervene in the lawsuit, the Attorney General will act to protect the regulations and the substantial benefits these rules will provide to consumers and the environment in California and across the United States.

The motion was filed yesterday in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. California was joined by the Attorneys General of Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington and the District of Columbia. In the motion, Attorney General Becerra writes that maintaining these rules is an important part of California’s efforts to promote energy savings and that “any weakening or delay of the Lamp Rules would diminish their energy savings, to the detriment of the States’ natural resources, economies, and citizens.”

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