If energy needs to be saved, there are good ways to do it.
                                                               Government product regulation is not one of them

Thursday, June 30, 2011

And Pennsylvania:
Local repeal bill under way...

 
As communicated by the office of Pennsylvania House Rep. Matt Gabler, he and Rep. Matt Baker are currently looking for co-sponsors for a bill to locally repeal federal light bulb legislation, becoming the 7th state to seek to do so (see updates regarding other US state bills).

In the first instance they seek to
"memorialize Congress to make necessary mandate repeals before the light bulb related provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act takes effect"

However, to ensure as far as possible the continuation of local manufacturing and freedom of choice for local consumers, a local repeal ban bill will also be launched.

More on this:
Rep Gabler audio statement (mp3 June 3, 2011)
Youtube video interview (uploaded by Rep Gabler on June 28, 2011)



Comment
As mentioned on the Michigan launch post, state legislators are aware of the inter-state commerce law and seeking to defend the rights of intra-state commerce.
Clearly, out-of-state visitors would come and buy these bulbs, but that is still hardly inter-state commerce unless they then re-sell them locally in other states.
That said, since regular incandescent light bulbs are small, cheap, and weigh little,
federal regulators are clearly going to see intended regulation effects circumvented.
The vigor with which they choose to pursue local state legislation may also be influenced by the Canadian Government proposal to delay a ban implementation to 2014,
also because alternative local state US purchases would benefit the US economy more
(remembering that around 2 billion incandescent light bulbs are annually sold in the USA
on 2008-2009 figures)

The second point here is that Pennsylvania, like South Carolina, and unlike say Texas,
already has current incandescent manufacturing at the Osram-Sylvania factory in St Marys (of which Matt Gabler is the State House representative).


The Sylvania site states that the factory
"manufactures nearly 2 million incandescent light bulbs each day, in 1,700 varieties and packages"
Attempts to safeguard some of the 265 jobs involve a conversion to making Halogen type less energy using incandescents - but these are far more expensive and less popular than regular simple incandescents, giving much lower sales versus more energy saving CFLs or LEDs (which of course is the ban intention), and, as set out on http://ceolas.net/#li01inx, all known incandescents will be banned by 2020 anyway: All of which hardly saves those jobs.
On the contrary, the continued sales of cheap bulbs would likely give more local jobs,
with all the extra purchases from out-of state visitors too.

Of further note is that the only Democrat in the US Congress sponsoring any of the federal light bulb ban repeals is Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Holden, alongside Republican Reps Tim Murphy and Glenn Thompson (St Marys District) and Senator Patrick Toomey.




Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Heat Ball" Decision Looming in Germany

  // Also a July Update on this
(added: A lot of later updates in this blog, search on "heat balls".
At time of this edit, last update February 2012) //

Siegfried Rotthäuser and friends in Germany have imaginatively tried to get round the European ban on regular simple incandescent bulbs by marketing them as "Heat Balls" (more).
This is a sop to the frequent ban defence relating to the fact that incandescent light bulbs give out over 90% of their electrical energy they use as heat (nevertheless being much easier to manufacture, when great brightness is required, compared to CFLs or, even more so, compared to LEDs).

The case has gone to the courts for decision, expected 26 July 2011, see announcement (pdf, in German)


Comment
Interesting legal argumentation might be expected in court...
a heat ball or rather "heat bulb" market idea to be followed in the USA and elsewhere?

As for light bulb heat "waste", it is often conveniently forgotten that CFLs and LEDs also convert most of their energy use to heat, although the heat is internalized more - in the case of CFLs leading to a recognized fire risk.
More on incandescent light bulb heat, and it's possible benefit here (http://ceolas.net/#li6x)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Michigan Launches Ban Repeal Bill

 

// Also a July Update of this //


More states are waking up to the fact of the looming federal ban...

As informed by Rep. Tom McMillin and the Right Michigan organization,
he has launched a bulb ban repeal bill in the Michigan House of Representatives with 27 early co-sponsors, although as yet unreported either by news media or Michigan Legislature press releases.



Bill extract:

The legislature finds all of the following:

(a) An incandescent lightbulb that is manufactured in this
state without the inclusion of parts, other than generic or
insignificant parts, imported from outside of this state and that
remains within this state has not entered into interstate commerce
and is not subject to congressional authority to regulate
interstate commerce.

(b) Basic materials, such as unmachined and unshaped steel and
glass, are not incandescent lightbulbs and are not subject to
congressional authority to regulate incandescent lightbulbs in
interstate commerce in as if the basic materials were actually
incandescent lightbulbs.

(c) Congressional authority to regulate interstate commerce in
basic materials does not include authority to regulate incandescent
lightbulbs manufactured in this state from those basic materials.


Comment
There are as seen issues of Federal v State regulation:
It played a part in the earlier veto by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer of their bill,
but subsequent bills in different states have taken that aboard,
and been phrased accordingly, at least in some cases after communication with the Attorney General's office.

News of the passing of the Texas bill into law was posted earlier.
Updates on other bills here (http://ceolas.net/#li01inx).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

House Energy Committee to Vote on Allowing Regular Light Bulbs

 
Myron Ebell, Director of the Free Our Light campaign (Facebook) reports...
"The Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan), has agreed to support a bill to repeal the ban outright. And the plan is to have a vote on a new version of the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (H. R. 91) in July."

Refers also to article, June 22 2011, The Detroit News (extracts:)

Upton: The House will vote to bring back the bulb
by Henry Payne (TheMichiganView.com)

The bulb is back.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., has finally agreed to support a bill this summer that means lights out on the looming 2012 ban on the common light bulb. Upton himself co-sponsored 2007 legislation making light bulbs illegal, a ban that has become a symbol of bipartisan Big Government run amok.

Upton has come under increased pressure in recent weeks, sources say, after failing to follow up on a promise he made after assuming the committee chairmanship that he would hold hearings on reversing the ban. After months of paralysis - and with the ban just six months from going into effect on January 1 - outrage was building among his own Republican committee colleagues and conservative activists, including a national petition campaign, FreeOurLight.org, sponsored by the influential Competitive Enterprise Institute.

"Freedom Action's Free Our Light campaign has demonstrated that there is widespread public opposition to the light bulb ban," says Myron Ebell, Director of Freedom Action at CEI. "We're pleased that Chairman Upton has seen the light and congratulate him on his decision. We look forward to the House passing the bill to repeal the ban and its eventual enactment later this year."

After Upton scheduled hearings this week featuring rent-seeking corporate fat cats that stood to benefit from the ban, anger boiled over and the chairman agreed not only to cancel the hearings but to bring up a bill repealing the ban. The View's source says that the bill will likely be brought up under "suspension," which means no amendments will be allowed and passage requires a two-thirds majority.

E&E News reporter Katie Howell is also reporting that Upton "he is working with Texas Republicans Joe Barton and Mike Burgess on language repealing the light bulb standards." (Link from here, subscription required.)

"We're very close to seeing an agreement emerge and happen," Upton told reporters at a conservative blogger briefing hosted by the Heritage Foundation.

The ban has been mostly covered up by the green mainstream media, and consumers were only just learning of the ban as bulbs have begun disappearing from shelves. In the meantime, bulb manufacturers had already eliminated hundreds of incandescent plants in the United States (the last plant closed in Winchester, Va. last year) in preparation for the ban - off-shoring the jobs to China where the more expensive, replacement compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) could be manufactured.

So much for green creating American jobs.

Republicans - led by Texas Rep. Joe Barton together with fellow Texan Michael Burgess and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. - introduced bulb restoration legislation immediately upon the GOP taking over the House this year. Republicans overwhelmingly support bringing back the bulb, while global-warming-obsessed Democrats say making bulbs illegal is crucial to saving the planet. Ironically, saving the earth has meant destroying union plant jobs.

In contrast, the ban had been supported by big corporations like General Electric and Philips who saw a an opportunity to use government to monopolize a new, more expensive market while transferring jobs to China to earn higher margins.


Comment:
A similar Bill in the Senate (Mike Enzi, S.395) also stalled in the Energy Committee earlier this year, without going to a vote as the support was not there, and again the leading Republican on the Senate Committee, Vice Chair (Ranking Member) Lisa Murkowski is for the ban, backing the outspoken pro-regulation Chairman Jeff Bingaman on the issue.
As mentioned in the last blog post, Texas state has enacted a repeal bill,
and a couple of other state bills are in progress, though none are likely to reach a governor signature in this session (before summer recess).



Links:
Progress of House Repeal Bill (Joe Barton H.R.91 of 1/5/2011)
Progress of Senate Repeal Bill (Mike Enzi S.395 of 2/17/2011)
Progress of Michele Bachmann House Bill (H.R.849 of 3/1/2011)
Information updates on individual US states repeal bans   http://ceolas.net/#li01inx
 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Texas Allows Regular Incandescent Bulbs

 
* * * * *
Update: Bill was indeed signed on 17th June
See below for Bill Progress links or Bills signed by Governor on the Texas Legislature site
* * * * *



The office of the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry,
have informed me, and allowed me to update the news, that the Governor will sign Bill HB2510 by June 19th.
Bill HB2510 allows for the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs otherwise banned in federal legislation of 2007, applicable from 1 January 2012 onwards.
The legality, at least in the way the proposed law is framed, has apparently been cleared with the US Attorney General's office.
The Bill has already passed in both House and Senate with overwhelming support.
While Texas has no current manufacture, relevant parties are being invited to restart it.
Texas has been a leading US state in providing new local jobs,  and this is seen as a further contributive measure. 

Comment:
Following the proposed 2 year delay of light bulb regulations in Canada,
this would be the first freedom-restoring legislation in North America,
and the first reversal in any major jurisdiction since New Zealand abandoned the planned ban there.
The potential influence goes far beyond Texas,
with respect to bulk purchases and distribution to other US states
This is even more so if other states follow - as seen from the Ceolas.net site,
South Carolina is the next closest to a decision,
and it has active manufacturing (American Light Bulb Manufacturing Inc, in Mullins).

Links:
Texas Governor  http://www.governor.state.tx.us/
Bill HB2510 Progress http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2510
Information updates on other US states repeal bans   http://ceolas.net/#li01inx

Monday, June 13, 2011

Need a Light Bulb? Uncle Sam Chooses

 

Excerpts with highlighting, from: Bloomberg Article June 10th
by Virginia Postrel


What Americans Like
CFLs had managed to capture only 25 per cent of the general-purpose light-bulb market — a decent business, sure, but hardly the radical transformation evangelists were going for. Most Americans, for most purposes, have stuck to traditional incandescents.

So the activists offended by the public’s presumed wastefulness took a more direct approach. They joined forces with the big bulb producers, who had an interest in replacing low-margin commodities with high-margin specialty wares, and, with help from Congress and President George W Bush, banned the bulbs people prefer.

It was an inside job. Neither ordinary consumers nor even organised interior designers had a say. Lawmakers buried the ban in the 300-plus pages of the 2007 energy bill, and very few talked about it in public. It was crony capitalism with a touch of green. Of such deals are Tea Parties born.


A bipartisan mistake
Though sponsored largely by Democrats, the ban was a bipartisan effort. It never would have become law without support from Republican senators and the signature of President Bush. Through filibuster and veto threats, Republicans got other changes in the 2007 energy bill — changes that had vocal corporate constituencies — but they didn’t fight the light bulb ban. Maybe it seemed like progress. It was certainly pro-business.

But banning light bulbs is one of the least efficient ways imaginable to attack those problems. A lamp using power from a clean source is treated the same as a lamp using power from a dirty source. A ban gives electricity producers no incentive to reduce emissions.

Nor does it allow households to make choices about how best to conserve electricity. A well-designed policy would allow different people to make different tradeoffs among different uses to produce the most happiness for a given amount of power. Maybe I want to burn a lot of incandescent bulbs but dry my clothes outdoors and keep the air conditioner off. Maybe I want to read by warm golden light instead of watching a giant plasma TV.
What matters, from a public policy perspective, isn’t any given choice but the total amount of electricity I use. If they’re really interested in environmental quality, policy makers shouldn’t care how households get to that total.
They should just raise the price of electricity, through taxes or higher rates, to discourage using it.

Even if you care nothing about individual freedom or aesthetic pleasure, this ham-handed approach wouldn’t pass muster in a classroom at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. As pollution control, it’s horribly inefficient.

The bulb ban makes sense only one of two ways:
either as an expression of cultural sanctimony, with a little technophilia thrown in for added glamour, or as a roundabout way to transfer wealth from the general public to the few businesses with the know-how to produce the light bulbs consumers don’t really want to buy. Or, of course, as both.



Comment/Links
Regarding a more relevant electricity policy
http://ceolas.net/ introductory section

Regarding the politics behind banning light bulbs,
The involvement of manufacturers and other vested interests,
as seen by official USA and EU documentation and communications
http://ceolas.net/#li1ax