Attorney General Bonta Urges Department of Energy to Implement Stronger Energy Efficiency Standards for Common Lightbulbs

Thursday, January 27, 2022
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OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a multistate coalition in support of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposal to codify more stringent energy efficiency requirements for common lightbulbs. Implementation of the 45 lumens per watt standard, a congressional backstop triggered by DOE's failure to act, will end the sale of outdated, energy-wasting, incandescent lightbulbs and spur the transition to more cost-effective, long-lasting, high-efficiency lighting technology. In the letter, the coalition urges DOE to implement this standard as soon as possible. 

“Our nation’s energy efficiency program puts dollars back in the pockets of hardworking families and small businesses,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As costs of living continue to rise, standards that reduce energy consumption – and in turn our electricity bills – should be a no brainer. I urge the Department of Energy to take swift action and implement these standards without delay.”

DOE's longstanding energy efficiency program has resulted in substantial economic and environmental benefits, with more than $2 trillion in projected consumer savings and 2.6 billion tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. According to DOE estimates, the backstop energy efficiency standards for general service bulbs will save consumers and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and avoid millions of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, with annual net benefits of up to $3.9 billion over the next 30 years.

In today’s comments, the coalition supports DOE's assessment that the backstop requirement has been triggered and that DOE must prohibit the sale of general service lightbulbs, such as incandescent lightbulbs, that do not meet a minimum 45 lumens per watt standard. The coalition urges DOE to implement this standard immediately, arguing that any delay in the effective date or in enforcement of the backstop is contrary to Congress’s clear mandate for the application of such energy efficiency standards by January 1, 2020. The coalition further highlights that delaying implementation of the backstop will have a disproportionate, negative impact on low-income communities as retailers in those communities often opt to sell cheaper, shorter-lasting, more inefficient incandescent bulbs.

Attorney General Bonta has pushed the Department of Energy to rescind Trump-era rules and strengthen the nation’s energy efficiency program. In October, Attorney General Bonta joined a similar coalition in support of DOE’s proposal to reinstate an Obama-era rule expanding the definition of “general service lamps” to include seven previously exempt light bulbs. Attorney General Bonta also led a multistate coalition in urging DOE to rescind its final rules creating new, unnecessary classes of dishwashers and clothes washers and dryers based on cycle time. In July, the Attorney General led a multistate coalition in urging DOE to undo the full suite of Trump-era revisions to the “Process Rule”, which created a number of roadblocks to the adoption of new energy efficiency standards and the review of existing standards.

Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the City of New York in filing the comment letter. 

A copy of the comment letter can be found here.

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