American Elephants

The Light Bulb Law is Far Worse Than Reported by The Elephant's Child

Aside from the reported 40,000 new regulations that went into effect on January first, there is building up a remarkable picture of really badly written law and regulations.  ObamaCare is full of regulations and mandates that just plain won’t work, that increase costs, deprive people of service, complicate that which should be simple, cost way more than was intended,and generally make a mess of things, and that doesn’t even count the waivers that have been granted to the unions and anyone else who has an in with the administration.

Liberals have long had the notion that wise folks in government have expertise not possessed by the ordinary dolts out there, and therefore can just do things better and cheaper and more efficiently.  They need to be disabused of the idea.  Lets return to the light bulb question.  Some people, lulled by the promise of saving energy and costs, have adapted to the twisty CFL bulbs. It may be true that if you use all CFL bulbs you can save energy and money, I don’t have any trustworthy statistics. You have probably noticed that I am v-e-r-y suspicious of anything that comes with a lot of green hype. I don’t like CFL bulbs. They take forever to turn fully on, and supposedly you can’t use them in any enclosed situation. I have a lot of enclosed situations, and they cost a lot more.  LEDs give better light than CFLs, but it is directional and they attempt to fix that with vanes on the outside of the bulb to direct the light, but it doesn’t work well.

The law that bans 100 watt bulbs went into effect January 1.  You may be surprised to learn that the law also requires their very costly replacements to be phased out as well.  The new light bulb standards mandate that light bulbs become 70% more efficient than classic bulbs by 2020. By 2014, household bulbs using between 40 and 100 watts will need to consume at least 28% less energy. But a second mandate of the law known as “The Energy Independence and Security Act” also sets a second efficiency goal of 70% that must be met nationwide by 2020.

100 watt bulbs are gone from the stores, but we don’t use 100s. Next January the 75-watt incandescent will vanish.  LEDs already exceed the 70% goal, but an LED replacement for a 50¢ 60-watt bulb can cost as much as $60.  The 60-watt will vanish in 2014. The federal regulation bans those bulbs by halting their manufacture. Major bulb makers have already made the necessary investments to conform to the law. In one article I saw, a bulb engineer said that the LED bulb really isn’t ready for prime time — it just doesn’t work very well, and they have no idea how to make it work.  They were kind of blindsided by the new regulations.

The Energy Department claims you can save $50 a year in electricity costs by replacing incandescent bulbs, but this does not account for the higher cost of replacement bulbs nor does it account for the escalating cost of electricity due to Obama’s efforts to “bankrupt coal-fired plants”, and drive up the cost of energy to force people to accept solar and wind energy.  That’s not working out too well.  Secretary Chu’s much vaunted Nobel prize, with two other scientists was “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light,” which doesn’t promise expertise in the economics and efficiency of light bulbs. Mr.Chu has made it clear that he feels entitled to tell the American people which kind of lightbulbs they must use.

This kind of regulation is not what Congress is supposed to be doing. If we want to spend more on our electric bills to get good light to read by— it isn’t Congress’s business. The intrusion of government into our homes is making people really angry.  And the bureaucrats  have made it far worse by making really dumb law. There are such things as “tipping points.” And people may get fed up with stupid law.


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