While it will not give opinion on the possible California law, the EPA recommends CFLs.
"They save money and energy," EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones said. "They are more convenient than other alternatives and come in different sizes and shapes to fit almost any fixture."
Also, CFLs generate 70 percent less heat than incandescent lights, Jones said.
About a fifth of the average U.S. home's electricity costs pays for lighting, which means even if CFLs initially cost more than conventional lightbulbs, consumers will save, Jones said.
A 20-watt CFL gives as much light as a 75-watt conventional bulb, and lasts 13 times longer, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit group studying energy issues.
Southern California Edison, an Edison International subsidiary and one of the state's biggest utilities, runs a program that cuts the cost of a CFL by $1 to $2.50. In the past year, SCE has helped consumers buy 6 million CFLs, it said.
California Energy Commission member Arthur Rosenfeld said an average home in California will save $40 to $50 per year if CFLs replace all incandescent bulbs.
People may be put off by the fact that they cost a couple of dollars more, but you have to remember to factor in the savings over the life of the bulb. CFLs last longer and take less energy to power. As for environmental impact, while there is mercury in fluorescent lights, more mercury is emitted from coal-burning plants over the life of an incandescent than there is in a CFL plus the coal it takes to power it.
All in all, it's a win-win situation. I doubt Texas has anywhere near the foresight to put this on the agenda, especially since Rick Perry seems to want us to burn more coal, but as individuals we can start on it anyway and wait for the government to catch up. Besides, it'll save us all some money.