"Somebody decides to save a little money somewhere and suddenly we have hundreds of thousands of (bulb) failures," said Victor Roberts, an independent expert in Burnt Hills, N.
Y., who conducts failure analysis testing on light bulbs.
Compact fluorescent bulbs comprise 11 percent of the market for bulbs in the United States, but consumers increasingly complain the bulbs burn out early, The New York Times reported.
"In the pursuit of the holy grail, we stepped on the consumer," said Michael Siminovitch, an energy expert at the University of California, Davis.
Overall, the energy-saving bulbs are of good quality, but it's difficult to keep tight quality control on a cheap, mass-marketed item, many of which come from China, said Alan Feit, vice president of Feit Electric.
"While manufacturers try to inspect all incoming materials, one little mistake may cause a performance problem," Feit said.