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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting a Blast out of Incandescents

Originally seen on Kevan's Save the Bulb blog,
this, er, "educational" game has since been updated...

Strange things happen in America

...a major Minnesota based energy company with a broad portfolio of generating assets including Coal and Nuclear have launched “Bulb Blasters”, a free iPhone game that uses a variety of compact fluorescent “weapons” to blast incandescent lamp based flying saucers. I couldn’t resist this however can report that it is possibly the worst implementation of a classic Space Invaders video game that you could possibly imagine. Maybe they should have spent their money on some proper research in cleaning up their Coal fired generating capacity or saving it for decommissioning their nuclear plants!

The game can be downloaded for Google Android or Apples iTunes devices from

It was developed by Voltage digital applications company for Xcel Energy...
From their iPhone apps page:

We’re excited to announce a new iPhone app developed by VOLTAGE for Xcel Energy is now available in the App Store. The FREE game – Bulb Blasters recalls the good ol’ fashioned awesomeness of 80′s arcade play as you try and blast less efficient incandescent bulbs off the screen with your energy saving CFL Cannon...

The Bulb blasters site modestly expands...


Embark on a futuristic mission to defeat the Incandescent Drones that suck over 75% more energy than an efficient CFL bulb.

Conquer the inefficiency of incandescent light bulbs by blasting them out of the sky with a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Cannon. Along the way you’ll learn triumphant facts about how CFLs save you energy, save you money, and can help save the universe from the evils of inefficiency.
Fight your way through futuristic worlds filled with incandescent invaders.
Learn to save without sacrifice every where around your home by connecting to Xcel Energy via Facebook, Twitter, and ResponsibleByNature.com.

What's New in Version 1.1
Take the battle against inefficiency to the next level.
Blast your way through to the mothership, and liberate lighting efficiency once and for all!

The company behind it is therefore Xcel Energy...

they profile themselves as follows...

Xcel Energy is a U.S. investor-owned electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Midwestern and Western states. Based in Minneapolis, Minn., we provide a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services through our four wholly owned utility subsidiaries.

More specifically related to the game is their subsite
ResponsibleByNature.com, a site dedicated to energy saving tips.
These include tips specific to lighting, in turn including a series of videos.
The videos tell you how all light bulbs have advantages, including incandescents, for different uses and locations! (oh alright... they tell you you should change all your bulbs...).


Whatever about the game itself,
note the underlying message from a plethora of Government sites, from Environment organizations and from Energy companies to You, the Citizen:

"Hey, save lots of money by cutting down on energy use!"

So what's so wrong with that?
Except it handily replaces how consumers could really save money on their electricity bills - by subjecting electricity companies to supply competition in the grids.
Even better, from future smart grid and metering changes to allow easier switching between suppliers also in real time (a much more cost relevant use for such meters, rather than today's flustered politicians praising them because "they can tell you if you left a light bulbs on").

Today's policians and their hangaround environmental cronies subscribe to massive upfront
cost exercises in for example grid changes needed to accomodate intermittent wind and solar supplies, and still more to back up such energy with conventional base loading alternatives:
Utilities happily benefit from the relevant energy and grid subsidies, paid for by consumers as taxpayers.
[Yes, environmental considerations may necessitate generation and grid changes, but that could be handled very differently, with greater effectiveness and less consumer impact as covered on Ceolas.net, first section]

Utilities profit still more from the current policy:
Just as the neutral observer can - and should- question why major light bulb manufacturers welcome being told what they can or can't make i.e. so expensive patented bulbs can be offloaded to choice-deprived consumers,
so utilities can happily offload expensive electricity to choice-deprived consumers.
Hence all the necessitated "save energy and save on your bill" promotional campaigns.

But wait, it gets better...
Often the utilities have a stake in or control the supplying grids,
and if captive customers reduce energy use the utilities can simply raise the price and squeeze more money out of the customers... increasing profits without having to expand the grid to seek new customers.
Regulators? That is precisely what US/EU state regulators are allowing, as referenced below.

Better still,
the utilities are getting (still more) state subsidies in advance for the calculated expected sales loss from an energy consumption reduction, an energy usage reduction which, as seen from the Deception summary on this site and more expansively explained on Ceolas.net, is hardly likely: But hey, that's money already in energy company executive pockets!
And yes, that includes subsidy agreement with Governments to push "energy saving bulbs" and other knick-knacks on customers who would otherwise not buy them.

As extensively referenced http://ceolas,.net/#li1ax onwards, US California, Ohio, Washington, Canada BC, and EU Britain examples.

The bottom line is that you, the reader, are being screwed:
Screwed by your politician, screwed by your friendly environmental organization, screwed by your light bulb manufacturer and screwed by your electricity supplier, all singing off the same hymn sheet in happy unison.

So with any screwable incandescent in turn disappearing from view, why not play at finishing the job with that game there... ;-)


Anonymous said...

Well said.
It's always about how to save energy to save money.

Never see them say that
the electricity should be cheaper from producers to begin with!
Whether from competition or from any other way. Thank you. Karl G.

Anonymous said...

perhaps someone can reverse engineer that!