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

Monday, November 28, 2011


And so Bulb Ban Day January 1 2012 is approaching,
when the federal USA lighting regulations take effect.
It is indeed a "ban" on all known General Service Incandescents, including the touted Halogen replacements, by 2020 at the latest.

Unfortunately, the Burgess funding amendment to the Energy/Water Bill, reported on earlier in this blog as an attempt to hold up funding for regulation oversight and thereby also to hold up the ban itself, does not seem to be working out:
The "bait" was for the Democraticaly controlled Senate to swallow the whole funding package, an overall funding package for renewable energy etc that they reportedly were keen on getting through. However, they now seem happy enough to engineer their own bill and lobby it back to the House...

Any direct federal repeal process would of course face President Obama's veto, as he staunchly defends the regulations. That also explains the rather circuitous legal ways used to get round them.

As is often pointed out, the regulations were brought in under President Bush.
However, most if not all of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates are not as supportive of them, with Governor Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Ron Paul particularly active in repeal ban involvement.

Never to late to see the light...

Saturday's Washington Times Editorial reviews the current situation.

Washington Times Editorial    
November 26 2011    

Time to stock up on light bulbs    

Within four weeks, it will be a crime to manufacture a 100-watt version of Thomas A. Edison’s brilliant invention. Thanks to a Democratic Congress and the signature of President George W. Bush in 2007, anti-industrial zealots at the Energy Department received authority to blot out one of the greatest achievements of the industrial age.
They’re coming for our light bulbs.

Know-it-all bureaucrats insist that foisting millions of mercury-laden fluorescent tubes on the public is going to be good for the planet.
The public obviously does not agree.
Voting with their wallets, people have overwhelming favored warm, nontoxic lighting options over their pale curlicue imitators.
Beginning Jan. 1, Obama administration extremists will impose massive financial penalties on any company daring to produce a lighting product that fully satisfies ordinary Americans.

The Republican House hasn’t done enough to stop this.
Rep. Michael C. Burgess, Texas Republican, added language to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to prohibit the ban’s implementation. A Senate committee deleted this sensible amendment in September, and it’s been quite a while since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has allowed an up-or-down vote on a funding bill.

“This was bad policy in 2007 and worse policy in 2011, especially considering Congress‘ awareness of the American people’s opposition,” Mr. Burgess told The Washington Times. “Harry Reid has literally removed Americans’ choice over what to put in their own homes. This issue is too important to our core values as Americans not to pursue.”

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership hasn’t made this a priority.
Many in the GOP remain cowed by the fraudulent claim that these are just harmless “energy standards” and opposing them would be a crime against the environment.
The reality is that this ban is yet another example of the sort of job-destroying regulations that enrich the administration’s friends at the expense of consumers. Specifically, the rules turn a 50-cent light bulb into a purchase of $3 or more.

Rampaging bureaucrats aren’t just satisfied with foisting inferior light bulbs on the public.
The Energy Department uses the force of the federal government to redesign an entire suite of consumer products to meet their personal preferences.
In nearly every case, their meddling makes things worse.
Current regulations micromanage the function of ceiling fans, clothes washers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, faucets, freezers, furnaces, heat pumps, lamps, pool heaters, power supplies, refrigerators, room air conditioners, shower heads, stoves, toilets and water heaters.

Enough is enough.

All of this is entirely unnecessary.
The public is more than capable of encouraging the development of efficient products.
House Republicans need to force a repeal of the light-bulb ban into the final budget deal so people will know each time they throw a light switch that their representatives see their concerns.


It should be said that Americans don't have to use the CFLs or LEDs for some time, but all incandescents will as said eventually be banned, and the temporarily allowed Halogen types are much more expensive for marginal savings, apart from having some light quality and other differences. Scroll below for more on the regulations...

Furthermore, some may avail of the fact that Canada has put off a ban for 2 years, and that Texas and perhaps other states may come to manufacture the incandescents.
Mexico, however, also has a ban in the pipeline, possibly next year - though they may consider the large subsidised CFL switchover program currently in operation, to be sufficient for now (considerable problems with the CFLs have been reported, due to Mexican electricity mains instability affecting bulb performance and life).

As noted before, the overall energy savings of a ban are low. with much more relevant alternative ways to save energy and emissions in electricity generation, grid distribution, and consumption.
Amazing as it may seem:
Light bulbs don't burn coal or release CO2 gas!


Anonymous said...

neighboring countries tend to act together to stop consumers stocking up...

canada originally had exactly the same as usa,
maybe they get a trade boost out of delay

in europe, switzerland and norway, outside the EU, forced by EU free trade agreement to also ban the bulbs

Unknown said...

I think it is far past the time to take this governing body and hoist them out on the keesters! It is not up to a tyrannical government to make such laws when the fact that these "bans" on safe lighting verses the harm these other bulbs can cause and the fact that you can't even throw them out because they do so much harm to the environment and to anything living is so ass backwards and is of no surprise when dealing with a government that has lost all sense of integrity.

Lighthouse said...

yes since bans are normally on unsafe products,
there is an irony somewhere when safe products get banned and questionably safe products are pushed as replacements, via subsidised CFL programs...

it is precisely from being old and "obsolete" that traditional simple incandescent bulbs are also well known and safe, whatever the advantages that more recent CFLs or LEDs of course also have.

Fat Controller said...

How typically American to ascribe the invention of the incandescent electric light bulb to Thomas Edison. Anyone on this side of the Atlantic knows that this honour (and that is not a mis-spelling)belongs to Sir Thomas Swan and that Edison was working on Swan bulbs when he found a way of improving them.

Swan's house was the first in the world to be lighted by electricity.

Lighthouse said...

Thanks Fat Controller,
yes while that article ascribes the invention to Edison there were certainly many others involved,
not least Swan just before with the most similar bulb Wiki timeline

Still - in other American contexts - it is understandable to generally refer to the "Edison bulb" when talking about it, as that is a commercially applied name.
Even outside the US the ES denomination, "Edison Screw" type fitting, bulb fittings article.

It is a pity that original inventors are not given more credit than commercially named and better known successors, but that seems to occur otherwise too, eg vacuum cleaners and Hoover history and no doubt much else...