New Regulations For General Service Lamps

Despite strong opposition from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and a number of lighting companies, the Department of Energy has decided to expand the definition of “General Service Lamps”.  That expansion means a number of lamps and bulbs will be prohibited beginning January 1, 2020.

In it’s decision, the Department of Energy said, “This final rule constitutes a decision on whether to maintain or discontinue various lamp exemptions and, in addition, DOE is determining that certain types of lamps should be included as GSLs because they are used for lighting applications traditionally served by GSILs (General Service Incandescent Lamp).

“In DOE’s view, EPCA (the Energy Police and Conservation Act of 1975) exempted certain categories of lamps because, on the one hand, some lamps in those categories have specialty applications; and on the other hand, it was not clear, when these lamp provisions were enacted, whether those lamps were part of the broader lamp market to which Congress wished to apply energy conservation standards. The purpose, then, of the decision that Congress entrusted to DOE, to maintain or to discontinue a given exemption, was that DOE should assess the role of lamps of that type in the broader lighting market, bearing in mind the evident statutory purpose of achieving energy conservation by imposing efficiency standards for general lighting.

“To be sure, the fundamental concerns motivating the petition process and the authority granted to DOE to discontinue exemptions seem to be similar. The purpose of both, DOE believes, was to ensure that unregulated lamps do not present a loophole that would undermine the effect and purpose of energy conservation standards. To fulfill that purpose with respect to the exemptions, DOE is discontinuing an exemption if, considering sales data and technical features, it concludes that lamps within the exemption are already used in general lighting applications or are ready substitutes for GSLs.”

You can read the entire report by the Department of Energy at



tED magazine has reached out to a number of lighting manufacturers that are opposing the new regulations.  We will update this story as those reactions are received.


tED magazine reached out to LEDVANCE, one of the many lighting manufacturers with a strong opinion about the GSL ruling and a manufacturer that voiced its opposition to it during the Department of Energy hearing. This is the response that we received:

“In spite of DOE’s published definition Final Rules being pulled back for review, some of the effects may be to limit consumer choice and features in décor lamps and the possible elimination of incandescent reflector lamps. We also do not feel that a high sales volume, as presented by the findings, indicate that a particular lamp is a loophole. The context of those sales numbers needs to be investigated in light of historical data and especially given that lighting in newer homes is being provided by reflector lamps in recessed cans rather than A-line lamp fixtures. We look forward to continuing to work with DOE on the energy conservation standard.”

—Susan L. Callahan, Regulatory Affairs Manager, LEDVANCE



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