[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 66 (Thursday, April 6, 1995)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17491-17492]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-8472]



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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

16 CFR Part 409


Request for Comments Concerning Rule Concerning Incandescent Lamp 
(Light Bulb) Industry

agency: Federal Trade Commission.

action: Request for public comments.

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summary: The Federal Trade Commission (the ``Commission''), as part of 
a systematic review of all its current regulations and guides, is 
requesting public comments about the overall costs and benefits, as 
well as the overall regulatory and economic impact, of the Rule 
Concerning Incandescent Lamp (Light Bulb) Industry (``the Light Bulb 
Rule'' or ``the Rule''). All interested persons are hereby given notice 
of the opportunity to submit written data, views and arguments 
concerning this review of the Rule.

dates: Written comments will be accepted until June 6, 1995.

addresses: Comments should be directed to: Secretary, Federal Trade 
Commission, Room H-159, Sixth and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, 
DC 20580. Comments about the Light Bulb Rule should be identified as 
``16 CFR Part 409--Comment.''

for further information contact: Terrence J. Boyle or Kent C. Howerton, 
Attorneys, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580, (202) 326-
3016 or (202) 326-3013.

supplementary information: The Commission has determined, as part of 
its oversight responsibilities, to review periodically all its rules 
and guides. The information obtained in such reviews assists the 
Commission in identifying rules and guides that warrant modification or 
rescission. The Commission decided to schedule its regulatory review of 
the Light Bulb Rule for 1995 when, pursuant to a directive of the 
Energy Policy Act of 1992, the Commission in April 1994 amended the 
Appliance Labeling Rule, 16 CFR Part 305, to add incandescent and 
fluorescent lamps as covered products. Although there are no 
contradictions between the two rules, the Commission scheduled review 
of the Light Bulb Rule for this year so it could consider whether to 
retain, revise or delete any of its provisions that might overlap the 
amended Appliance Labeling Rule.\1\

    \1\The two Rules both cover A-type incandescent lamps and 
require on their labels disclosure of certain performance ratings 
and other information. Specifically, both rules require disclosures 
of light output, wattage and laboratory life ratings. The Appliance 
Labeling Rule specifies that these disclosures must appear together, 
in that order and worded in a certain way (i.e., as ``Light Output: 
________ Lumens; Energy Used: ________ Watts; Life: ________ 
Hours'') on the label's principal display panel. The Light Bulb 
Rule, however, does not specify any order or wording for its 
required rating disclosures, but simply specifies that the three 
ratings be disclosed in terms of lumens, watts and hours and appear 
together on at least two side panels of the label and, additionally, 
on any other panel on which a lumen, wattage or hours of life claim 
is made.
    The Appliance Labeling Rule requires the lumens, watts and hours 
disclosures to appear with equal conspicuousness, but does not 
specify any particular type style or size. The Light Bulb Rule 
specifies that the lumens and hours disclosures must both be in a 
medium- or bold-face type that is at least two-fifths the height of 
the watts disclosure on the same panel or three-sixteenths of an 
inch, whichever is larger.
    The Appliance Labeling Rule requires that energy saving or 
operating cost claims take into consideration, and clearly and 
conspicuously disclose in close proximity to the claims, all the 
assumptions upon which the claims are based, including, e.g., 
purchase price, unit cost of electricity, hours of use, patterns of 
use. The Light Bulb Rule, because it covers not only energy saving 
and operating cost claims, but also all comparative lamp life, light 
output and lamp cost claims, specifies additional factors (e.g., 
labor costs for replacement, light output, life expectancy) that, 
depending on the particular claim being made, must be taken into 
consideration and clearly and conspicuously disclosed.
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A. Background

    The Rule was promulgated by the Commission in 1970.\2\ The Light 
Bulb Rule makes it an unfair method of competition and an unfair and 
deceptive act or practice, in connection with the sale in commerce of 
general service incandescent electric lamps (light bulbs) to:

    \2\35 FR 11784 (July 23, 1970).
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    (1) Fail to disclose clearly and conspicuously on the containers of 
such lamps (or, if there are no containers, on the bulbs themselves) 
their average initial wattage, average initial lumens and average 
laboratory life;
    (2) Fail to disclose clearly and conspicuously on the bulbs 
themselves their average initial wattage and design voltage;
    (3) Represent or imply energy savings resulting from a lamp's life 
expectancy or light output unless in computing such savings the 
following factors are taken into account and disclosed clearly and 
conspicuously for the lamp being sold and also (unless the comparison 
is only of initial purchase price between lamps of identical wattage, 
lumens and laboratory life) the lamp with which the comparison is being 
made: lamp cost, electrical power cost, labor cost for lamp replacement 
(if any), actual light output in average initial lumens, and average 
laboratory life in hours;
    (4) Represent or imply that a lamp will give more light, maintain 
brightness longer or furnish longer life without clearly and 
conspicuously disclosing, for both the lamp being sold and the lamp 
with which the comparison is being made the average initial wattage, 
the laboratory life in hours, the average initial light output in 
lumens, and (if there is a claim the lamp maintains brightness longer) 
the light output in lumens at 70% of the lamp's rated life.
    Four notes at the end of the Rule define terms used in the Rule or 
require certain procedures or tests to be used in making disclosures 
required by the Rule. Specifically, these notes: (1) State how 
manufacturers are to determine the [[Page 17492]] wattage, lumen and 
life rating disclosures required by the Rule, (2) require for the year 
1970-71 all lamp labels to explain the meaning of the word ``lumen'' 
whenever it is used, (3) define the term ``general service incandescent 
lamp'' to mean all A-type bulbs and all other incandescent bulbs 
substantially the same as A-type bulbs, and (4) define the meaning of 
the Rule's term ``clear and conspicuous'' with respect to the minimum 
type sizes necessary for required disclosures and the minimum number of 
times the required disclosures must be made on lamps and/or their 
labels.

B. Issues for Comment

    At this time, the Commission solicits written public comments on 
the following questions:
    1. Is there a continuing need for the Rule?
    a. What benefits has the Rule provided to purchasers of the 
products or services affected by the Rule?
    b. Has the Rule imposed costs on purchasers?
    c. Does the light Bulb Rule provide any benefits not provided by 
the provisions of the Appliance Labeling Rule relating to lamps?
    2. What changes, if any, should be made to the Rule to increase the 
benefits of the Rule to purchasers?
    a. How would these changes affect the costs the Rule imposes on 
firms subject to its requirements?
    3. What significant burdens or costs, including costs of 
compliance, has the Rule imposed on firms subject to its requirements?
    a. Has the Rule provided benefits to such firms?
    4. What changes, if any, should be made to the Rule to reduce the 
burdens or costs imposed on firms subject to its requirements?
    a. How would these changes affect the benefits provided by the 
Rule?
    5. Does the Rule overlap or conflict with other federal, state, or 
local laws or regulations?
    6. Since the Rule was issued, what effects, if any, have changes in 
relevant technology or economic conditions had on the Rule?
    7. Should the Commission retain, or modify in any way, the 
particular provisions of the existing Rule that define the term ``clear 
and conspicuous'' to mean certain minimum sizes for required 
disclosures and certain minimum numbers of times that those required 
disclosures must be made on lamps and/or their labels?
    8. Should the Commission retain, or modify in any way, the 
particular provisions of the existing Rule that require all comparative 
energy consumption or operating cost claims, all comparative light 
output claims, and all comparative life expectancy claims to be 
accompanied by clear and conspicuous disclosures of particular 
comparison data for both the lamps being sold and the lamps with which 
the comparison is being made?
    9. Should the Commission retain, or modify in any way, those 
provisions of the existing Rule that duplicate or overlap provisions in 
the Appliance Labeling Rule pertaining to lamps?
    10. The Light Bulb Rule requires wattage, light output and life 
expectancy ratings to be disclosed at the bulbs' design voltage whereas 
the Appliance Labeling Rule requires the disclosures at 120 Volts 
regardless of the bulbs' design voltage.
    a. For general service incandescent bulbs with design voltage other 
than 120 Volts, should the Commission continue to require ratings 
disclosures at both 120 Volts and design voltage?
    b. What percentage of the total quantity of general service 
incandescent lamps sold in this country is comprised of lamps with 
design voltages other than 120 Volts?
    (1) Describe how, for such lamps, the light output, wattage and 
expected life ratings differ when the lamp is used at 120 Volts from 
when used at the design voltage.
    (2) In what areas of the country are lamps with design voltages 
other than 120 Volts routinely sold and in what proportions compared 
with lamps with design voltages of 120 Volts?
    (3) To whom are lamps with design voltages other than 120 Volts 
sold and for what uses?
    (4) Do purchasers of such lamps also routinely purchase lamps with 
design voltages of 120 Volts and, if so, what are the percentages of 
their lamp purchases for each category?
    (5) How might the market for lamps with design voltages other than 
120 Volts be expected to change in the future?
    c. At what line voltages is electricity delivered in the United 
States? What areas receive electricity at voltages other than 120 
Volts? Describe. Are there any private electricity delivery systems 
(e.g., industrial plants), that provide electricity internally at 
voltages other than 120 volts? Describe.

List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 409

    Advertising, Consumer protection, Energy conservation, Household 
appliances, Labeling, Lamp products, Trade practices.

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 41-58.

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 95-8472 Filed 4-5-95; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-M