The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act aims to permit manufacturers to make incandescent bulbs in the state, as long as the bulbs are stamped with the words “Made in South Carolina” and sold only in that state. Co-sponsor Rep. Bill Sandifer says that the federal government can’t tell consumers and business owners what kind of light bulbs they can use, the Associated Press reported.
“These rights to have the kind of light bulbs we want and need are our rights. They are not given to the federal government,” Sandifer said.
A federal law passed in 2007 sets efficiency standards for bulbs, which will require manufacturers to phase out most 100-watt incandescent bulbs in 2012, and discontinue 40-, 60- and 75-watt bulbs in 2014.
South Carolina has one company that makes incandescent bulbs, and Sandifer says the bill will encourage others to start up in the state. The bill’s supporters say that the federal law would hurt South Carolinans because they use the bulbs not only sources of light, but also of heat.
“Did you also know there’re a lot of people in rural areas of our state that still put a light bulb in their well house to keep it from freezing in the winter time or in their dog house to keep their dog from freezing?” Rep. Mike Pitts asked.
He also said that his granddaughter won’t be able to make him cakes in her Easy-Bake Oven anymore, which relies on an incandescent bulb as its heating element. But Easy-Bake maker Hasbro recently announced that in the fall it will launch a new version of the oven that does not use an incandescent bulb.
“This new oven features a heating element that does not use a light bulb and offers an extensive assortment of mixes reflective of the hottest baking trends for today,” Hasbro said.
Last year Arizona lawmakers tried to pass a law similar to South Carolina’s, but it was vetoed by Republican governor Jan Brewer. Such bills have also been considered in Texas, Georgia and Minnesota. But California is phasing out incandescents a year early.
Survey results released yesterday suggest that a large majority of Americans support the higher efficiency standards. Three out of five respondents (60 percent) were unaware of the federal law, but two-thirds (66 percent) feel that it is a good idea.
The poll by marketing agency EcoAlign found that a majority of Americans have installed some type of energy efficient lighting in their homes. Many of those polled – 41 percent – did not know whether their utility offers incentives for buying such lighting.
“Americans have fully embraced more energy efficient lighting options such as CFLs [compact fluorescent lamps] and LEDs [light emitting diodes],” EcoAlign CEO Jamie Wimberley said. The survey found that price is not the top consideration when Americans choose light bulbs. If cost is not a consideration, one-third consider CFLs to be the best option, and one-fourth prefer LEDs.
“A fundamental shift is occurring in American attitudes towards energy efficiency,” Wimberley said. “Efficiency is now more anchored in performance, meaning that more efficient products perform differently and better than less efficient products, and thus are more desired.”
Picture credit: Pablo Charlón