New light bulb efficiency standards will begin phasing in on Jan. 1 despite intense opposition from conservatives, who have blasted the rules as a textbook unnecessary federal regulation.

While Republicans secured inclusion of a measure blocking funding for enforcement of the standards in a year-end spending bill, energy efficiency groups say the provision will have little practical impact. The Energy Department rules will nonetheless go into effect at the start of 2012.

“The [spending bill] cut funding for enforcement, however the law is still in effect,” said Jack Gillis, spokesman for the Consumer Federation of America. “It is our expectation that companies will still comply with the law.”

Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, said companies have been preparing for the new light bulb efficiency standards since Congress passed the 2007 energy law requiring traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more efficient starting in 2012.

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