- In a trio of comment letters, 17 states and cities have asked the U.S. Department of Energy to strengthen the nation's energy efficiency programs by rescinding Trump-era rules they say stalled energy savings growth and made it easier for manufacturers to continue selling outdated products.
- On Monday, a group of state attorneys general said they support amending DOE's efficiency program definitions to expand the number of light bulbs subject to federal standards. The agency proposed the change in August, and advocates say it could save consumers billions of dollars on their energy bills.
- Several rules finalized by the DOE under President Donald Trump sought to undermine the agency's appliance efficiency program, the states and cities said. With energy efficiency one key to addressing climate change, "we must get this program back on track," California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.
Along with its appeal for tighter standards on light bulbs, the coalition of states and cities wants to see DOE finalize stronger efficiency rules for dishwashers and clothes washers and dryers and to undo revisions to the agency's process rule which made it more difficult to set new or review existing standards.
“Our nation's energy efficiency program is a critical component of any plan to combat climate change," Bonta said. "I support the Department of Energy's efforts to reverse Trump-era regulations that undermined this program. There's no time left to waste."
DOE's energy efficiency program will result in more than $2 trillion in projected consumer savings by 2030, according to Bonta, along with avoiding 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
The agency's August proposal would bring bulbs used in about 2 billion sockets under federal regulation, including decorative fixtures and recessed and track lighting. The agency also said over the summer that it is still considering whether to initiate a "backstop," or minimum efficacy standard, of 45 lumens per watt for light bulbs making up most of the U.S. market.
"Prompt action will significantly increase the efficiency of general service lighting and ensure that consumers, businesses, and governments can enjoy the full economic and environmental benefits of a strong,
national energy efficiency standards program," the attorneys general told DOE in their letter.
Signing onto the letter were the states of New York, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, New Mexico, Washington and Massachusetts as well as the District of Columbia and New York City.
Light bulb manufacturers have asked for a "glide path" for any products that DOE rules might force off of shelves.
"A phased 2-step approach will be significantly less disruptive to manufacturers and retailers and will be far easier to manage than a blanket 45 lm/W sales ban," the National Electrical Manufacturers Association said in June comments on the issue.
Efficiency advocates oppose delays, however, arguing that each month with weaker rules costs consumers about $300 million on energy bills. There is also a social justice concern, they note.
"These delays are especially burdensome for low-income households that can least afford the high costs of inefficient light bulbs," the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy said in comments filed Monday.