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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bloomfield Opinion: Incandescent Bulbs

After a quiet start to the New Year, a lot of reaction - as seen by the last posts - has suddenly sprung up to the light bulb regulations in Canada and in particular the USA, obvious enough with its much bigger media market.

While many are of the typical "people stocking up", "what are your choices" variety, some more critical ones are also appearing.
The following can be said to be typical of those seeking limited government in general, more obvious from reading the full article.

Probably from being called "Freedom Light Bulb" the assumption keeps being made that this blog is about such Freedom of Choice.
Yes - and No.
As covered in the About this Blog page, the particular point of banning bulbs is how wrong it is from every aspect and every ideology, left, green, or right, that is, on actual and relevant energy savings, on overall sustainability and environmental perspectives, and ignoring that, still wrong on targeting bulbs by banning some of them.
Even if targeting is desired, market solutions are still possible, while on a liberal left perspective, a taxation policy would be more logical, as it is about consumption reduction rather than banning a product unsafe to use.

But free choice also certainly comes into it - all types of lighting having their advantages for different uses, and as the following says, a ban is clearly wrong on that basis too.

Below, Jan 16 column in North Jersey News (Bloomfield Life) Sue Ann Penna of Citizens for Limited Government, also with a radio show

Article Excerpts

Bloomfield opinion: Incandescent Bulbs

Approximately two thirds of Americans are not aware that the Thomas Edison incandescent light bulbs we have known all our life are now illegal to produce or import into the United States, effective Jan. 1. The patent for the incandescent light bulb was issued on Jan. 27, 1880.

Along with the death of the light bulb goes the death and destruction of another industry at the hands of the federal government.

The last light bulb factory in Winchester, Va., closed in 2010, taking with it 200 jobs. To add insult to injury, the costly government regulated light bulbs will now be manufactured in China, since there are no manufacturing plants in the United States.

As recent as last week, U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) proposed legislation to repeal the ban on incandescent light bulbs....Once again, government elites and unelected bureaucrats, who could have turned around bad policy, are making decisions for us and impeding our freedom of choice. This decision was not based on public need. It is based on bureaucrats who believe that they know better which energy is good.

While some argue that we are oil dependent upon the Middle East and must find alternative energy sources, the argument does not hold true for electricity.
The United States is not dependent on any foreign country for coal, which produces electricity.

Government regulations ensure three things: job loss, higher costs for energy and less competition in the marketplace.

The death of the light bulb is just another chip at our freedom of choice.
Choice is the cornerstone of freedom. If the government had stayed out of the situation, the free market would have come up with a solution to address the high cost of energy and none of it would have included a mandate about what you were allowed or not allowed to buy.

As the shelves become bare and stores have sold the last of the incandescent light bulbs, maybe then there will be a public outcry about government intrusion into our lives, our choices and the free market.

RIP incandescent light bulb. You will be missed.

The writer is executive director of Citizens for Limited Government, based in Bloomfield.

How Regulations are Wrongly Justified
14 points, referenced:
Includes why the overall society savings aren't there, and even if they were, why alternative policies are better, including alternative policies that target light bulbs.


Steve said...

I appreciate that there are many concerns around the light bulb issue -- partly that other bulbs don't produce quite the same light (nothing else yields the same level of color rendering); some that the government shouldn't be involved; etc.

But just to add to what you've said here, only about 44% of our nation's energy comes from coal. Its consumption produces mercury and other toxins that end up in our air and water ... and so they end up in our bodies. Then we have nuclear, with its risks; and natural gas, with the question of fracking; etc.

So whether you buy into manmade weather change or not, using energy definitely impacts our environment and health. So there are those considerations when we think about things like light bulbs.

To me, it's not a black and white issue, but something we need to look at while continuing as a society to push for better solutions.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to find a way to send you a message but could not find anything so I am leaving it here. I just wanted to let you know that there is one manufacturer in the USA working to bring up the efficacy of halogen incandescent lamps to meet the 45 lpw standard coming up in 2020. They already commercialized the 2x incandescent bulbs which produce 1600 lumens (roughly 100w equivalent) for only 50w, which is even better than the 72w EISA halogens already on the market. Here is the link:


And the 2x bulbs are sold at 2xlightdirect.com however they are currently sold out and I have been in touch with them, they say they are working on a larger order and should have more in stock soon. I have a pair of the 50w Vybrant 2X bulbs, they are USA made (hope they stay American made) and are truly a 100w equivalent.

Anonymous said...

You must obey der furer.....

Lighthouse said...

Certainly one should not waste energy, and certainly incandescent light bulb metered use is greater than that of CFL/LED pushed replacements.

However, for several reasons that does not translate either into similar power plant savings or overall energy savings.
As covered elsewhere, one should rememeber the main off-peak evening time use of surplus electricity (hence cheaper on time-based pricing) and in particular, that the same coal is then often burned regardless of light bulb choice, from the minimum coal plant night cycle outputs for operational reasons (energy factors)

As you anyway say, "only about 44% of our nation's energy [electricity] comes from coal"
- so coal use is not a necessity either, and emissions can be dealt with themselves, rather than banning useful products for the purpose.

As electricity generation and emission issues are indeed being dealt with, it highlights the pointlessness of a ban also in a future perspective.

Lighthouse said...

To Anonymous re the hybrid halogen bulb

Thanks for the link and information, even if it might be mass-promotion related (not that hard to contact the blog or website!).
It's indeed interesting how reflective techniques can enhance halogens theoretically to the required 45 lpw (CFL) equivalence needed for future legal survival as general service bulbs for ordinary consumers.
Unfortunately major manufacturers have abandoned such enhancing techniques on cost/profitability grounds (as also per EU stakeholder meeting Nov 25 2013) and even today's replacement halogens (which have been available for several years) have not proved popular in a free choice with regular incandescents, given a much greater cost for marginal savings.

RE the the 2x bulbs, also interesting, albeit that the $3.50 price per bulb at 1,500hr lifespan means much the same comment, and they are sold out http://www.2xlightdirect.com/product-categories/a-line
However at 50W that is as you say better than the 72W type Halogen replacements, and the 1600 lumen at 120V is pretty close in brightness to regular 100W brightness unlike the longer lasting rough service or voltage step-up bulbs.

Anonymous said...

Halogens I recall had fire hazard issues. The people in power are pushing LEDs as if they don't realize the masses will buy the cheapest (which will now & forever be the CFL). No,The people will not rebel once they see their Incandescents gone.

Unknown said...

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