This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the All LED Lighting site may go dark at any time. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.


The Incandescent 'Ban'

We're all well aware that the EISA restrictions on manufacture & import reach 40W and 60W incandescent bulbs come January 1. The media is now busy telling the rest of country.

We have written extensively about the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which among many other goals established minimum levels of efficiency for light bulbs manufactured or imported into the US (see the "Related posts" below).

EISA didn't "ban" incandescents, or any other particular technology, but that has become the common shorthand way to refer to the phase-out of the most popular sizes of the energy-wasting bulbs.

Public awareness lacking
Osram Sylvania has been conducting an annual "socket survey" since EISA became law. This year's was just released, and found that 59% of Americans say they hadn't been aware that 60W and 40W incandescents will begin to disappear from store shelves next year. (Most were somewhat aware of the incandescent phase-out.) Thirty percent, twice as many as last year, declared that they will begin hoarding incandescent bulbs and will continue to use them.

The press is on the story.

From the middle
Fox News actually is "fair and balanced" on the topic. The stress is on the opportunities for small businesses in the new era of lighting. The reporter mentioned phosphor supplier Intematix and bulb maker Switch as examples, and quoted Corey Egan, CEO of controllable-lighting startup iLumi, who was just our guest in a live chat on All LED Lighting.

The Huffington Post has an informative video news segment, not stressing LEDs so much as evenhandedly covering the field of incandescent replacements including CFLs and efficient halogens.

Even the Weather Channel gets in on the coverage, dispelling "5 Myths About the Light Bulb Ban."

From the right
News and opinions sites that lean to the right on the political spectrum are continuing to beat the drum of overreaching government functionaries ignoring the wisdom of the marketplace. National Review's piece is titled "Don't Tread on my Light Bulbs" and calls government agents "G-men." The National Legal and Policy Center refers to the phase-out as having been implemented "in the US government's anti-liberty wisdom," and opines that Cree, by taking advantage of government tax breaks and subsidies, is "trying to do a 'land grab' of the alternative lighting market."

These opinions persist on the far right despite the fact that EISA was enacted by large majorities in Congress during a very "red" administration, and despite the fact that the size of the majority favoring a future with more efficient lighting has not changed in four years of Sylvania's survey (see illustration).

But all in all, conservatives are making less noise about the phase-out than they did when 100W incandescents hit the wall in 2012. Clean Technica wonders at the source of this sudden quiet, and speculates that it may be just another instance of the right wing "kick[ing] up a huge storm only to discover that, after the dust settles, most folks are supportive of a change for the better."

I would be curious how opinion about the incandescent phase-out actually does divide across the political spectrum. It would not surprise me to learn that only those on the extreme right are pushing against the change. Sylvania's demographic survey questions did not collect data on respondents' political views, unfortunately.

Related posts

— Keith Dawson Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page, Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting