Following a European Union directive, 40-watt and 25-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be manufactured, produced or sold in European Union member states, starting on September 1, 2012. The EU implemented the directive to cut energy costs across all of its member states.

The European Commission writes a draft of a proposed directive. The Commission presents the draft to the European Parliament and to the Council for evaluation and approval or rejection. European directives must be complied with by all member states, but each state can choose its own method of conforming to the directives. Directives have legal effect; even when a directive has not been implemented by a member state it still has a legal effect. This directive, which was implemented on September 1, 2009, consists of phasing out incandescent light bulbs over the succeeding four years. Some retailers stopped selling incandescent light bulbs before the directive was enacted.

The phase out has received support from green groups, such as Green Alliance. According to The Guardian, Dustin Benton said, “Whatever your view of the EU, this legislation is good news for consumers. It rewards innovative manufacturers and could cut bills by £158 per year. The government should ignore Eurosceptic opposition and help consumers to save money by regulating for efficient products.” But, the directive is receiving opposition from some who do not want to pay the price non-incandescent light bulbs and some who believe that other bulbs do not work as well as the incandescent bulbs.

The EU action is comparable to the U.S.’s policy in adopting the Energy Independence and Security Act. The U.S. Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which states that 100-watt incandescent light bulbs will no longer be manufactured, produced or imported in the US, starting on January 1, 2012. 100-watt incandescent light bulbs can be sold in U.S. stores until there are no more left to sell. The U.S. law’s goals are similar to the EU directive to lower energy consumption and to cut energy cost.

Peter Hunt, joint chief executive of the Lighting Industry Association, said to the Guardian, “The phase-out has been very smooth. Concerns about poor performance of replacement bulbs have been proved wrong. The new LED replacements for halogen downlighters that have come on to the market over the past year work just as well, for example. Price is still a barrier, but that’s coming down almost daily as volume increases.”

James Russil of Energy Saving Trust told The Guardian the directive can save the average home £30 a year and that the directive is making a “real difference” in energy consumption.  Anything can help when 19% of electricity is consumed by lighting. No specific goal has been stated at this time.

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