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Public Service Commission


10/28/2011 Contact: 850-413-6482

Watts Up with Looming Lumens?

TALLAHASSEE — In concluding October’s Energy Awareness Month, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) urges consumers to learn the difference between a “watt” and a “lumen,” since labels for energy-saving bulbs soon will use lumens, instead of watts, as the measure of a light bulb’s brightness.

Consumers have long relied on the term “watts” to help them choose the right bulb for their indoor and outdoor lights.  Watts refer to how much energy a bulb uses when lit, but lumens measure the amount of light produced by a bulb.  With today’s more efficient lighting options (such as LEDs), a bulb with a lower wattage can actually have a much higher lumen output.  Lighting packaging will now indicate the lumens produced by a bulb.

PSC Chairman Art Graham said, “Light bulb shopping will be easier because consumers will have apple-to-apple comparisons, equating the bulb’s watts usage with its lumen output on the package.  Consumers will not have difficulty selecting the appropriate bulb brightness for their lighting needs.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has mandated packaging changes for all light bulbs, simplifying and standardizing the differences in light bulb output.  The labels for energy-saving bulbs--similar to the nutritional facts labels on food--are to appear on all bulb packages by January 2012, as traditional incandescent bulbs are eliminated.  According to the FTC’s Web site, the new labels will “include a light bulb's brightness, energy cost, life, light appearance, and wattage.  In addition, the principal display panel on the front of packaging will include the estimated yearly energy cost for each bulb.”

October’s Energy Awareness Month is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, and this year’s theme is, “Turn Words into Action; Turn Action into Results.”  Consumer tips from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Web site are located at

For additional information, visit

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