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

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The effect in 2012 on consumers and manufacturers

Update on yesterday's effective postponement of USA light bulb ban
(it will partly run in parallell, to keep them in one place).

To begin with,
according to the Department of Energy, the law prohibits the manufacture and import of new 100-watt incandescent bulbs but does not prohibit stores from selling out their existing stock - nor, of course, does it prohibit consumers from using them.

Therefore, regardless of the amendment regarding oversight funding of the ban implementation, American consumers would likely be able to buy regular 100 Watt bulbs for at least a year, albeit perhaps marked up in price, in stores cannily stocking up on them.
That is also what happened with the EU ban of 2009.

This can easily be confirmed online, for example, NY Times, J&J Tech etc, and several online retailers, apart from the more hidden legal text via official links.

Again, since Canada is delaying a ban to 2014, that offers another way to get the bulbs, even easier if there is no federal oversight of import activities, as per the latest bill amendment.

But that is not all.
While the law does prohibit manufacture, the fact that there is no oversight might see a limited 2012 continuation of American manufacture of the targeted incandescents - even without any local "freedom bills" being enacted.

Take South Carolina:
How the American Light Bulb Co in Mullins, SC is "fired up" against the ban: here
American Light Bulb Manufacturing Co. owner Ray Schlosser said the company is the only independent incandescent light bulb manufacturer in the state. He said the proposed state law will keep his business competitive.

As for Pennsylvania, see the earlier post, noting the manufacturing plant in St. Marys: It is the country's oldest functioning light bulb manufacturing facility, and produces nearly 2 million incandescent light bulbs a day - but being owned by the major Osram /Sylvania maker, would presumably be more susceptible to federal political pressure, and has in any case been taking steps over the past years to convert manufacturing to halogen type bulbs.

As seen, Osram/Sylvania also has manufacturing of some incandescent light bulb types in Winchester, Kentucky.

There are also smaller outfits making and marketing "rough service" legal incandescents (examples: AeroTech and Gadsden).

Texas has no current manufacturing,
but Gov Perry spokesmen told me earlier this year that they were looking for interested companies, after legalisation of local incandescent manufacture in June 2011.
There was the contention of contravening federal laws, but they had been in touch with the Federal Attorney General's office before legalising it locally (as seen from the changes in the bill text).
More on Texas in an earlier (updated) blog post.

One can also note that California had no problem in locally legislating on the issue, albeit the other way round, in the sense of banning local sales of higher wattage incandescents earlier this year.
This is in line with US (and similarly EU) policy of "locally more stringent interpretations of federal laws being allowed",
but invites criticism on the basis that if federal laws are needed in the first place, then they should be equal for all...

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