It looks like an all-out ban on incandescent light bulbs is off the table in California for the time being. AB 722, which would have banned sale of traditional light bulbs in the state by 2012, has been amended to require, instead, that the bulbs achieve a 50 lumens per watt efficiency (equivalent to the lower range of compact florescent bulbs) beginning in 2010 for 100-watt bulbs, phasing in through 2016 for 40-watt bulbs. Though not perfect, it is a substantially more elegant policy than the earlier proposal. According to the Assembly analysis of the proposed bill, “almost 2 percent” of the state’s entire electricity consumption goes to power incandescent lights. GE, don’t fail me now! Earlier posts on the topic here and here and here. Also, for our general edification, a photo of AB 722 author, Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, proving (??) that the quality of light produced by florescent bulbs is nothing to be afraid of.
Skaidra Smith-Heisters is a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.