Ban on Incandescents is Unnecessary, According to NEMA

Feb. 6, 2007
Energy-efficient lighting use grows, making proposed bill impractical

The Rosslyn, VA-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), a strong advocate of energy-efficient lighting, today noted the increasing market penetration of compact-fluorescent lighting and rejected calls for a ban on the traditional incandescent lightbulb. The announcement was made in response to a bill being considered for introduction in the California legislature that would ban all incandescent lightbulbs by 2012. California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, who crafted the proposal, notes that incandescent technology is over a century old and that it’s time to "take a step forward."

NEMA and its members promote the use of energy-efficient technology at every opportunity, but believe the proposed bill is impractical. NEMA President Evan Gaddis says, “NEMA has a solid record of supporting energy-efficiency standards and codes when they are reasonable, meet customer needs, and are implemented in an orderly fashion. The proposed legislation would seemingly fail in all three measures.”

Gaddis says product bans and other command-and-control strategies are typically not an effective means of creating a more energy-efficient society. “They do not encourage technology innovation and fail to take into account market and application needs of the customer. On the other hand, the marketplace tends to encourage innovation and eventually sorts technology in an efficient manner. The quickly growing number of compact fluorescents being sold to consumers is proof positive of that.” According to the U.S. Department of Energy, consumers in 2006 purchased 97 million compact-fluorescent bulbs, an increase of 122 percent from the year before.

Gaddis said he hopes California and other states work with manufacturers, retailers, and the U.S. Department of Energy to educate the public and promote purchase of energy-efficient lighting. “If consumers are properly educated, they come to understand that the savings realized in terms of energy efficiency will soon recoup any higher purchase costs.”

This information was reprinted with permission from NEMA, an electrical manufacturing industry
organization that has shaped public-policy development and operated as a central confidential agency for gathering, compiling, and analyzing market statistics and economics data. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. To find out more, visit (

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