Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Bulb claims by the dozen

Michael Burgess, who started a new term in January, says traditional 100-watt light bulbs can't be sold starting in January 2012. (Associated Press photo.)
Michael Burgess, who started a new term in January, says traditional 100-watt light bulbs can't be sold starting in January 2012. (Associated Press photo.)

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, issued a July 15 warning about conventional light bulbs.

"Starting Jan. 1," Burgess said, "if Home Depot or your local grocery store has the 100-watt (light) bulb in their inventory, they will not be allowed to sell them. That means they will take all 100-watt bulbs off the shelf, and they will never see the consumer."

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 is expected to end the U.S. manufacture of such bulbs as of 2012. However, stores will be permitted to sell remaining stocks while more efficient bulbs giving off the same level of light as the old 100-watt bulbs will be available — including incandescents.

We rated Burgess’ claim Mostly False, the rating that this week replaced Barely True on the Truth-O-Meter.

Fact checks of light-bulb claims — about a dozen, stacked up here — have long kept us busy.

Of late, PolitiFact Rhode Island in June checked a claim that the 2007 act bans the use of traditional incandescent bulbs. In November, PolitiFact Texas rated Mostly False a similar claim by Gov. Rick Perry. He had written that Washington is "even telling us what kind of light bulb we can use."

Mike Stenhouse, executive director of the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, traced his claim to House floor remarks by another Texas congressman, Ted Poe.

But the act doesn’t regulate what bulbs may be used. "There are no energy police coming to your home to make you remove your light bulbs," said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a 30-year-old advocacy organization that advises lawmakers and conducts research.
   
Stenhouse admitted the possibility that he "might have made a little mistake there" in saying that incandescents will be illegal to use — a statement he made at two separate points of his appearance. His statement rated Pants on Fire.