Dan Eisenberg on DOE Enforcement of Incandescent Lamp Phase-out


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has begun to enforce its phase-out of most incandescent lightbulbs in the United States. This follows a period where DOE exercised enforcement discretion for addressing noncompliance, issuing warning letters in place of seeking civil penalties. Unlike most appliance efficiency requirements enforced by DOE, its general service lamp standards apply to retailers in addition to importers and manufacturers. The rule will impact all stages of the supply chain. In EnergyWire's "Lights out for incandescent bulbs," Principal Dan Eisenberg (Washington, DC) said, "[DOE] can go after you if you’re a brick-and-mortar store, an online retailer, a distributor, an importer, - It’s going to impact a much wider sector of the economy than the typical [DOE] appliance efficiency standard does."

While DOE has yet to announce its assessment of any civil penalties under the new general service lamp standard, Dan noted that he "would not read anything into the absence of [lightbulb] enforcement showing up yet, - I would expect, over the next year or two, we would start to see them pop up. And even that might just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Dan noted that successive administrations have taken very different approaches to lamp efficiency and that, "[i]t’s possible a future administration could try to scale back the scope of the standard by again trying to narrow the definition [of incandescent bulbs]."

Click here for a PDF of the full article.

Beveridge & Diamond's Consumer Products and Product Stewardship, Global Supply Chains practices work with U.S. and multinational companies that make, distribute, transport, or sell consumer products in a hyper-competitive and evolving consumer goods market. We help identify, understand, and comply with complex regulatory requirements throughout the product lifecycle. For more information, please contact the author.