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

Friday, November 29, 2013

Kevan Shaw Report:
November 25 EU Consultation Forum

Regarding the EU Consultation Forum on domestic lighting November 25 meeting in Brussels
A report was posted here November 26.

Reproduced here:

Concerning the EU (European Commission) Light Bulb Review and their proposal to alter the regulations as laid out in detail previously:

Yesterday saw the previously mentioned meeting in Brussels of the Consultation Forum involving the Commission, national energy representatives and a few lighting "stakeholder" delegates.
I will expand on anything arising out of this: Suffice to say that while LightingEurope (representing Philips, Osram, GE and other major manufacturers, pre-meeting official statement of their position) and a few other lighting representatives were for the continuation of halogens without time limit, most of the energy agency type people predictably wanted to keep the 2016 ban, with some national representatives (eg Germany, Austria and Italy) wanting at least a delay, in that sense siding with the Commission 2 year delay proposal.
As this was just a consultation, decisions will take some time yet. Final decision on all aspects of the regulation review will be made by April 2014.

The most surprising aspect of the meeting was the focus on clamping down on "rough service" type industrial bulb sales to ordinary consumers - EU light bulb sales inspectors will likely be authorised to patrol the sale outlets of member nations, as already demanded by Energy Commissioner Oettinger for his native Germany. The idea therefore already has strong backing from the boss - and this time nearly all are for it, including the major manufacturers, as a lot of those bulbs are cheap Chinese imports. Thereby also "useful EU job creation" achieved. General applause.
What, the consumer? When were consumers ever important?!

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Award winning (Lux UK Designer of the Year) Kevan Shaw of SavetheBulb.org has published a fuller analysis of the meeting and future prospects... The Latest from Europe

Extracts, my highlighting:

The Latest from Europe

Review of Ecodesign regulation 244/2009 stage 6

The Consultation meeting that took place in Brussels on 25 November revealed clearly that the EcoDesign process, particularly for lighting products is now only a political action.

In the meeting the majority of the national representatives spoke against delay or removal of the ban, not for substantial reasons of energy savings but because it might be seen as a precedent for delays or revisions for other products in the EcoDesign system.
There was also considerable support not to look at this issue in isolation but conflate it with the omnibus review of the regulation next year to save these civil servants from having to attend any more meetings where they are clearly completely out of their depth on fundamentals of the technologies being discussed.

The gloves are also off the conceit that these regulations are “Technology Neutral”.
Clear statements were made that funding would be provided for SSL but not other research.
[this was also seen in the circulated Commission proposal leading up to the meeting]

The UK representative claimed that the statements in lighting industry press clearly showed that SSL was the "only future for lighting". This obvious gullibility to marketing messages is truly scary in the context of pan European regulations that will, in effect kill off the only remaining bulk lamp manufacturing in Europe, which is tungsten halogen.

There is also seemingly no need to prove that the existing regulation has been effective in its core purpose of saving energy. The argument here is that energy use may have gone up despite the regulations but if the regulations had not been in place the increase would have been far worse!.....It was pointed out that the regulation has been very effective in bringing to the public’s attention that "something was being done" about energy use in Europe.

As for any negative impact on consumers, these are brushed under the carpet of savings on energy bills.
The unrealistic life in service expectations of extortionately priced SSL lamps, again largely statistical rather than actual, feed this argument.
Health concerns? Not the concern of this process SCENHIR deals with that.
Product safety? Again not a concern of this process. In the last year there have been 6 recalls of LED replacement lamps that I am aware of. These have been for life safety issues, touchable parts of the lamps becoming live to mains electricity. Throughout my long career in lighting I can only remember one recall of an incandescent lamp and that was because some shattered when they failed at end of a full service life.

There was some indication of the expectations of the omnibus review.
Spearheaded by Sweden and vociferously supported by CLASP the umbrella research organisation funded by the green pressure groups including WWF, Greenpeace etc, the proposal is that only A class lamps should be available in the market by 2020 if not sooner! ....Even SSL will not be able to deliver the warm colour appearance good colour rendering light that we are used to at the levels of “efficiency” demanded.
The near future looks like becoming cold and dead looking place.


Excellent if a little depressing!

The declared position of the main lighting manufacturers is as seen against the energy agency type people, but clearly
their worry of losing profit is not the same as when cheap simple incandescents were legal.
It would rather seem to be a marketing exercise for manufacturers to support the more expensive halogens, also presumably having more of an "ear to the ground" of what consumers want - compared to the civil servants and ideological fanatics as per the above. But manufacturers also know full well that they can simply point a finger at the Commission for any unpopular decision made (and in addition can then claim to have "tried on behalf of consumers to save the halogens"). Maybe that's their game all along - they know full well the position of agencies and Commission, and at the end of the day can simply count the profit - and reap all the subsidies - pertaining to LED manufacture and sales.
That leaves naive people like me thinking that manufacturers, for once, might have been concerned about people's choices without wholly regard to profit.
But, to repeat, manufacturers can and arguably should lobby for profitable decisions on behalf of their shareholders.
The problem, as always, is the extent that the Commission only listens to them, or indeed the national agency types or environmental pressure groups - which brings us back to the democratic acceptance of other views, and the various comments by other groups and individuals as highlighted here in recent days.

There is a further aspect to the review democracy, as highlighted by these type of meetings:
Not just who is allowed to attend, and not just that others are not heard (file your opinion in the waste paper bin/trash can), but of knowing who was there in the first place.

Who sits on the "Commission Ecodesign Committee", that pours out legislative initiatives on everything from light bulbs to vacuum cleaners to TV sets, which will apply to the EU?
Nobody knows - Nobody is allowed to know.
By research reports and other roundabout ways (eg who sits on the DG Energy C3 Committee on Energy Efficient Products) one gets to know some likely names on the Commission side - but that's it.
They don't even seem to have a secretariat. At most they have an email address type "tren-ecodesign@ec.europa.eu" but they never reply.
You might as well be dealing with the Cosa Nostra.

Much the same with these Consultation Forums.
Again, by various reports one finds out some likely representatives.
The Commission can rightly say that it's up to National Governments, Trade Organisations and Energy Saving Associations to decide who they want to send to represent them.
But that does not excuse saying afterwards who attended - after all, they have a monitored, named guest list of all who attended.
It's not as if it was the Ku Klux Klan attendance list. Presumably there is no shame/reluctance in name revelation.

The point is this: The Commission has sole rights to initiate legislation in the EU - presumably those selectively invited are invited to give valued input into this, and presumably they would not attend otherwise.
They should therefore stand by what they say - openly.
It's not good enough to say "by contacting the organisations concerned, they may say who was sent".
No real minutes are revealed (see the summary type below), no real information about what was discussed or who said what.

That's not all.
In any voting procedure, only the overall result is given. Not even the names of countries/organisations (as applicable) voting for/against, let alone reprentatives themselves.

Compare with equivalent launching of consultative forums or hearings in say the USA, or in individual European countries at least of the Western democratic tradition.
I have covered US Senate Hearings, similar to the EU Consultation Forum in having invited representative participation - that's even televised (C-Span) or retrievable by video. Video!!!
If any EU Commission hearing even had summary minutes released by someone, he or she would probably be crucified within minutes up on the Berlaymont.

The following shows replies I recently received looking for information.

They suggest looking at vacuum cleaner legislation as an example (this was before the light bulb review).
Vacuum cleaners of course will also soon be limited in energy use, so expect to spend twice as long cleaning up and use the same energy anyway.

Members of the Regulatory Committee are representatives of Member
States of the European Union (EU). A list of the persons who
participated in a particular meeting is not published on the EU’s
‘EUROPA’ web portal.

You may want to contact directly the Permanent Representations of the
Member States to enquire about whether the names of delegates in a
particular meeting are available. You can find the relevant contact
details on the EU’s ‘whoiswho’ portal at the following URL:

Furthermore, you might be interested to know that by consulting a
Summary Record of one of the Ecodesign regulatory Committee, you can
find at the end of the document the Ministry/Department/Agency which
represented the Member State in that particular Committee meeting
[Ecodesign Committee has the reference: C07900]. An example is the
meeting of 27/02/2013 on vacuum cleaners:

We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if
you have other questions.

PDF documents below, in case not seen:
Document 1
A typical Ecodesign meeting's summary report and (as here) a brief voting record

Document 2
A list of typical national ministries and agencies represented (anonymously)

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.

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