Loading...
Dirty Energy & FuelEnergy ConservationPolicies & Politics

GOP Pisses Off Light Bulb Industry

 

light bulbs gop

This is last week’s news, a bit, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to cover more and haven’t gotten to. So, here’s a quickie on it:

The GOP, in the name of “freedom” tried to kill lightbulb standards established and signed into law under George W. Bush (somewhat sucessfully). The GOP framed it as a ban on incandescent light bulbs and a ban on freedom of choice. However, it was NOT a ban on incandescent bulbs but just a mandate to make them more efficient. Aside from those who want clean air and a livable climate, the GOP’s ridiculous obstructionism on this pissed off the light bulb industry!

More from Politico (a rather conservative politics site):

Big Business usually loves it when the GOP goes to war over federal rules.

But not when it comes to light bulbs.

This year, House Republicans made it a top priority to roll back regulations they say are too costly for business. Last week, the GOP won a long-fought battle to kill new energy efficiency rules for bulbs when House and Senate negotiators included a rider to block enforcement of the regulations in the $1 trillion-plus, year-end spending bill.

The rider may have advanced GOP talking points about light bulb “freedom of choice,” but it didn’t win them many friends in the industry, who are more interested in their bottom line than political rhetoric.

Big companies like General Electric, Philips and Osram Sylvania spent big bucks preparing for the standards, and the industry is fuming over the GOP bid to undercut them.

After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort.

Yep, that’s our House GOP (or GOP leaders in general these days), looking out for… no one.

Light bulb man via shutterstock




21 comments
  1. Zachary Shahan

    Note to commenters: if you post a comment full of lies that do not add to the discussion at all, it will be deleted..

    CFLs & LEDs are clearly much more efficient and long-lasting than traditional incandescents — this has tested and retested and retested, and I’ve got lights that live up to the studies.

    This legislation will help consumers save a ton of money, will cut health costs, and will help to maintain a livable climate and environment. There is no doubt about that.

    1. Peter Gray

      As evidence that Zachary is not “censoring” valid contrary viewpoints, see Lightsmith1’s comment at the top of the thread. Nothing but misinformation from one end to the other, and with no detectable contribution to the discussion, but even that didn’t qualify as “stuffed with lies.”

      The best I can say for Lightsmith’s comment is that it reminded us of the hoary, long-discredited mercury anti-CFL argument. But sheesh, even Popular Mechanics (http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/news/4217864
      ) blew that one away 4 years before this blog post.

  2. Zachary Shahan

    Note to commenters: if you post a comment full of lies that do not add to the discussion at all, it will be deleted..

    CFLs & LEDs are clearly much more efficient and long-lasting than traditional incandescents — this has tested and retested and retested, and I’ve got lights that live up to the studies.

    This legislation will help consumers save a ton of money, will cut health costs, and will help to maintain a livable climate and environment. There is no doubt about that.

    1. Peter Gray

      As evidence that Zachary is not “censoring” valid contrary viewpoints, see Lightsmith1’s comment at the top of the thread. Nothing but misinformation from one end to the other, and with no detectable contribution to the discussion, but even that didn’t qualify as “stuffed with lies.”

      The best I can say for Lightsmith’s comment is that it reminded us of the hoary, long-discredited mercury anti-CFL argument. But sheesh, even Popular Mechanics (http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/news/4217864
      ) blew that one away 4 years before this blog post.

  3. Zachary Shahan

    Artcuras, it’s not technically a “ban” — but, sure, you can say it is one effectively if they can’t improve the technology to make it more efficient. But what’s your problem/point?

    We set efficiency standards for cars and for other things as well. They save consumers money. They protect our health. They create jobs. Where’s the problem.

    Lighting accounts for a large portion of our electricity use. It is required at night but also often used in the day. This will make a considerable difference for our health and the maintenance of a livable climate.

    As for the money aspect: this is something that has been set for implementation since George W. Bush. The lighting industry put a ton of time and money into preparing for the standards. A last-minute decision to drop them doesn’t make sense. It harms consumers and it pisses off an industry that has been working on this topic for years.

  4. Robert Klein

    I love LED’s. The color is very nice and I’ve already seen a difference in my energy costs since I switched over. I found really great prices at Earthled.com.

  5. Robert Klein

    I love LED’s. The color is very nice and I’ve already seen a difference in my energy costs since I switched over. I found really great prices at Earthled.com.

  6. lighthouse10

    The sale in 2012 of regular 100W incandescents was never banned anyway,

    only the manufacture and import…

    Since stores are stocking up, the amendment will not change things for consumers short term.
    (full explanation on ceolas net  also  with updated repeal bills of 7 US states, legislated Texas)

    But it does mean Congressmen are forced to look again at the whole issue

    in election year 2012.

    Long term is a different story:

    Incandescent technology for ordinary lamps, including touted halogens,

    will effectively be banned, on the mandated 45 lumen per Watt end regulation standard.

  7. Artcurus

    Zachary,

    First, Yes, this is a ban. This is effectively removing 100 watt bulbs from the market. Period. If they can’t reach a certain level of efficiency, it CAN’T BE SOLD. PERIOD. It can’t be sold.

    This legislation has nothing to do with the environment, it’s all about money. The quotes from the major bulb makers after this ruling are worried about lost sales to the incandescent. They don’t want the competition.

    Also try to understand that this will do nothing toward power plants. Lighting is used during off peak hours, when pwr gens are ramped down from the main load during the day. Lighting makes up less than 6% of the entire draw on the grid.

    1. Zachary Shahan

      Artcuras, it’s not technically a “ban” — but, sure, you can say it is one effectively if they can’t improve the technology to make it more efficient. But what’s your problem/point?

      We set efficiency standards for cars and for other things as well. They save consumers money. They protect our health. They create jobs. Where’s the problem.

      Lighting accounts for a large portion of our electricity use. It is required at night but also often used in the day. This will make a considerable difference for our health and the maintenance of a livable climate.

      As for the money aspect: this is something that has been set for implementation since George W. Bush. The lighting industry put a ton of time and money into preparing for the standards. A last-minute decision to drop them doesn’t make sense. It harms consumers and it pisses off an industry that has been working on this topic for years.

  8. Kyle

    From my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong), the legislation DOES ban the incandescent bulb, for two reasons:

    1) The high-efficiency incandescent halogen bulbs some companies are making do not produce the same quality of light as a regular incandescent (although they come close), so the incandescent as we know it is being banned

    2) By 2020, the energy-efficiency standards get raised so high that ALL incandescent bulbs, including the high-efficiency ones, are effectively outlawed. So the ban DOES ban the incandescent bulb, just not all of them immediately.

    This ban has absolutely nothing to do with being green or saving energy, it is because the lightbulb industry saw it as a way to force people to stop buying the cheap, low-margin incandescent bulbs and instead buy the pricey, high-margin alternative bulbs. People refuse to buy those bulbs because their quality of light is inferior while they also cost more. It is a prime example of big corporations utilizing a popular issue (being green) and government regulation to enhance their profits. The lightbulb industry lobbied and pushed for these new regulations from the beginning.

    And CFLs and LEDs do not last longer than incandescents, as is commonly-claimed. Numerous consumers and even groups that have tested the bulbs have found they are duds essentially in terms of their claims about long-life.

    It also wouldn’t make any sense for the lightbulb companies to make the bulbs last long. They’ve been able to make much longer-lasting incandescents since the 1920s, they just don’t because it would cut into their profits if people only had to buy lightbulbs far less frequently. Why does anyone think they will do the same with these new lightbulbs?

    As it stands, no bulb produces light of the same quality as the ordinary incandescent, not high-efficiency, not CFLs, or LEDs. They can get very close, but not quite the same, and the ones that are close cost an arm and a leg.

    Some argue that the lightbulb is a 100+ year-old technology, and therefore it’s time for a change, well sure, but change should happen naturally due to literally superior products people want. The reason people still use the incandescent is because the alternatives are inferior, not superior. The internal combustion engine is a 100+ year-old technology as well, but we still use it becaue for the time being because none of the alternatives are viable at the moment.

    There are those who say, “People complained about the quality of music on CDs compared with record albums, but got used to it,” in reference to people complaining about the inferior quality of light from the CFLs and LEDs, yes, but CDs replaced records and tapes by the forces of the market, i.e. the will of the people, not because the government mandated people to use them.

    If truly better-quality lightbulbs come about, then people will use them when the price is right, just as the DVD players replaced VCRs, just as flat-panel televisions replaced cathode-ray-tube televisions.

    As for the lightbulb companies, they could care less about energy-efficiency or being green. You can be guaranteed that if it was the conventional incandescents that were the more high-margin profit-maker, that the lightbulb companies would be sounding off like Ronald Reagan Republicans on this issue and the new standards probably never would have ever even been made law.

     

  9. Lightsmith1

    I don’t think either party and perhaps the writer of this article know what they are talking about. The energy efficient bulbs TPB want us to use contain mercury and when not properly disposed of the mercury will leach into the environment. How many people know about this? Do we really think they will be disposed of safely? There is a shortage of tungsten right now and I suspect these new bulbs were introduced by corporations like GE to save money not energy and improve their green image.

    1. Zachary Shahan

      Well, first of all, the legislation isn’t ‘for’ any particular bulb. More efficient incandescent bulbs could be produced/sold instead, CFLs (what you’re talking about), or LEDs.

      That said, while CFLs contain a little bit of mercury, so do many thermometers, so do many fish. And the mercury risk from these bulbs is minimal compared to their energy savings (and the mercury that doesn’t comes from coal power plants).. if they replace traditional incandescent light bulbs.

    2. Peter Gray

      Sorry to be rude, but what a stunningly ignorant comment! As Zachary noted, CFLs contain a little mercury. About 5 milligrams/bulb. That could add up to a few pounds if all CFLs were tossed into the street, but in fact there are educational campaigns and recycling programs all over the place, that are quite successful. Non-properly disposed bulbs end up in landfills, that these days are fairly well contained. Meanwhile, the avoided coal combustion from each 75W-equivalent CFL reduces mercury emissions by 10 mg. Powerplant mercury goes straight into the air and the oceans. Lots of people know about this – just not you, Lightsmith.
      There is no “shortage” of tungsten. You can buy all of it you want, just at a price up to 10 times higher than the low points of a decade ago. But a 60W incandescent contains 20 milligrams of tungsten, about $0.001/bulb, at the very highest prices ever.
      So yeah, this year’s high tungsten prices, that have added a tenth of a cent to the mfg. cost of a bulb, must be what drove this nasty industry conspiracy for CFL and LED R&D that began, what? Twenty years ago? 30?
      You might want to think before typing next time…

  10. Lightsmith1

    I don’t think either party and perhaps the writer of this article know what they are talking about. The energy efficient bulbs TPB want us to use contain mercury and when not properly disposed of the mercury will leach into the environment. How many people know about this? Do we really think they will be disposed of safely? There is a shortage of tungsten right now and I suspect these new bulbs were introduced by corporations like GE to save money not energy and improve their green image.

    1. Zachary Shahan

      Well, first of all, the legislation isn’t ‘for’ any particular bulb. More efficient incandescent bulbs could be produced/sold instead, CFLs (what you’re talking about), or LEDs.

      That said, while CFLs contain a little bit of mercury, so do many thermometers, so do many fish. And the mercury risk from these bulbs is minimal compared to their energy savings (and the mercury that doesn’t comes from coal power plants).. if they replace traditional incandescent light bulbs.

    2. Peter Gray

      Sorry to be rude, but what a stunningly ignorant comment! As Zachary noted, CFLs contain a little mercury. About 5 milligrams/bulb. That could add up to a few pounds if all CFLs were tossed into the street, but in fact there are educational campaigns and recycling programs all over the place, that are quite successful. Non-properly disposed bulbs end up in landfills, that these days are fairly well contained. Meanwhile, the avoided coal combustion from each 75W-equivalent CFL reduces mercury emissions by 10 mg. Powerplant mercury goes straight into the air and the oceans. Lots of people know about this – just not you, Lightsmith.
      There is no “shortage” of tungsten. You can buy all of it you want, just at a price up to 10 times higher than the low points of a decade ago. But a 60W incandescent contains 20 milligrams of tungsten, about $0.001/bulb, at the very highest prices ever.
      So yeah, this year’s high tungsten prices, that have added a tenth of a cent to the mfg. cost of a bulb, must be what drove this nasty industry conspiracy for CFL and LED R&D that began, what? Twenty years ago? 30?
      You might want to think before typing next time…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *