We use CFL bulbs in my house, in almost all of the lighting, not because of government regulation but because we choose to do so. It is the same as us using incandescent bulbs for some lighting applications. As for the CFL bulbs, I have not seen this wonderful reduction in my electric bills that others talk about but I will admit that the reduction in the electric bills, due to lighting changes, may be there but not evident because of other factors that may have increased other usage overall.
I do not like them myself, those CFL bulbs, at least not for most lighting. I prefer incandescent bulbs over florescent, always have done so. My wife buys the CFL bulbs because she likes them and I tolerate them. I have a small store of incandescent bulbs in stock. As opposed to the CFL bulbs, they make a good supplemental heat source, in addition to supplying lighting, for some of the reptiles I keep. They also will not emit any mercury into the tanks should the bulb break or otherwise leak while over the tank but I do take that chance and use CFL with some of my critters for a very limited number of applications (they help some plants grow wonderfully in my gecko tanks). The thing in all of it though is we can choose now which we use – soon the choice will not be ours to make because the government regulates otherwise.
My issue with these bulbs is mostly the federal government demanding that we use them and not use others. It is another instance of the federal government overstepping the bounds of its authority on its way to becoming a totally controlling nanny state (of course state and local governments do likewise with ridiculous regulatory laws). That we have a choice to use the light bulbs we want may seem of little consequence but now the government (covering federal, state and local) also regulates: the toilets we can use, the guns we can shoot, the cribs we can allow our children to sleep in and not all the banned ones were deemed unsafe (see), the amount of soda that can be sold, the use of e-cigarettes (here), the type of ammunition with which we hunt, helmet laws, seatbelt laws, drinking age (from 18 to 21), that we must be subjected to TSA searches (without any probable cause or suspicion) before boarding commercial aircraft, the amount of liquid we can carry on a plane, where people can smoke in public, ammunition sales, where people can smoke in privately owned establishments, where we can and cannot carry a gun, the bathing suit one chooses to wear on a beach, free speech in blogs (link), sales of girl scout cookies (see), vaccinations (link), healthcare and health insurance (link), collection of rain water (crazy but true), gun registration, feeding the homeless (citation), the milk we drink (scary), firearms magazine capacity, alcohol in gasoline, the showerheads we use, the free market, the lunches our children eat at school (source), our privacy (see), what our doctors must report to the government about our personal health, our freedom to hand out free stuff - even water, Internet use (source), the amount of ammunition we can load into magazines (citation), our ability to defend ourselves, and I am pretty sure you can think of other things. The government (used broadly to include federal, state, local) has been and continues to overstep its bounds. It is because people say, oh this regulation is okay and so is that one that the government gets away with things like violating a major Constitutional right like your right to keep and bear arms, your right to freedom of religion, your right to free speech and your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The more such laws are passed, the more folks become used to unneeded government intervention, even illegal government regulation and actions, and they become callous to it. That allows for more and more of it to take place. All the while they are losing more and more of their liberty.
When will it end. I think when most, if not all, of the lawyers and political scientists are voted out of office and practical people, with practical experience in the things government currently regulates, take over in the seats of power.
I would vote for Joe The Plumber any day before I would even consider voting for a angry fool like Harry Reid, an arsehat like Nancy Pelosi or an inexperienced boob like Charles Schumer - who while having passed the bar, jumped right over it and went into politics reportedly without ever practicing law (source) and now he writes them (bad ones at that).
All the best,