FTC Adopts Changes to Lamp Product Labeling Regulations

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission has amended its regulations governing the disclosures that must appear on lamp product (light bulb) packages. The changes relate to incandescent reflector lamps and to incandescent bulbs with a design voltage other than 120 volts.

The changes amend regulations the FTC announced in April 1994 and which went into effect on May 15, 1995. The new regulations, part of the Commission's Appliance Labeling Rule, are designed to help consumers buy the most energy-efficient light bulbs that meet their needs. In January, 1995, however, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) petitioned the FTC to make certain amendments and to delay enforcement. The amendments were published in the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period last March.

Under the changes, the regulations will continue to require that manufacturers of general service incandescent lamps, including reflector lamps (spot lights and flood lights), with a design voltage other than 120 volts disclose information about each such lamp's operation at 120 volts. The required disclosures, however, may appear somewhere other than the principal display panel of the packaging if the principal display panel discloses operation information on the lamp's design voltage, the effect of that voltage on the lamp's operation, and where on the package information can be found for operation at 120 volts. NEMA had stated that manufacturers design some light bulbs for operation at either 125 or 130 volts, and that line voltages of other than 120 volts are prevalent in certain regions of the country. The Commission determined that the changes would give manufacturers greater flexibility while retaining necessary information disclosures consumers need when making purchase decisions.

In addition, the Commission has clarified the requirement for disclosing the lumen light output on incandescent spot light and flood light packages.

In light of uncertainties among light bulb manufacturers about their compliance responsibilities, when the Commission proposed the amendments in March, it also issued an Enforcement Policy Statement. In that Statement, the Commission said it would not base any law enforcement actions against manufacturers of incandescent bulbs on failure to comply with the new regulations before Dec. 1.

The amendments appeared in the June 13 Federal Register. The Commission vote to adopt the amendments was 5-0.

Copies of the Federal Register notice and other news releases and documents associated with this matter are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

(FTC Matter No. R611004)

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