If you like your light bulb, you can’t keep your light bulb

Today, the light bulb. Tomorrow, our vacation choices? What next, oOur right to life?

  • lightbulb

Americans will be feeling a new and unexpected pain of government overregulation before they vote in November. Yet, more than two-thirds of the public is currently unaware of what has the potential to be a serious 2014 election issue—representing more government intrusion and meddling with free markets, increased cost, loss of American jobs, and the elimination of choice.

The reality of Obama’s Green-energy policies is going to hit home with your next light bulb purchase.

A recent study found that only 28% of Americans were aware of the 2007 law that unrealistically raised the minimum efficiency standards for light bulbs to the point where it effectively turned the 25-cent light bulb into contraband. “In its place,” reports CNS News, “alternative, costly and mercury-filled CFLs are manufactured in China, and incandescent factories in the U.S. have been shuttered.”

The last U.S. incandescent light bulb factory, in Winchester, VA, closed in September 2010, leaving 200 well-paid employees feeling that they’d been “sold out by the government.” The GE news release about the closure stated: “A variety of energy regulations that establish lighting efficiency standards are being implemented in the U.S. and other countries and will soon make the familiar lighting products produced at the Winchester Plant obsolete.”

As of January 1, in America, it is now illegal to manufacture or import the traditional incandescent light bulbs.  SWAT

President George W. Bush signed the “Energy Independence Security Act of 2007” that was cosponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), in a different energy era. Back in 2007, there was a general belief that we were truly facing an energy shortage and that global warming was a real manmade crisis. It was thought that forcing efficiencies upon the public would reduce energy use and CO2 emissions.

[Note: one of the stated purposes of the 2007 act was to move the U.S. toward “greater energy independence and security.” Light bulbs are powered by electricity. The U.S. is, and has been, electricity independent and secure. We import oil for our transportation fleet, not for electricity. Light bulb efficiency has nothing to do with energy independence or security.]

Republicans, faced with a new abundant energy reality, realized the error of their ways and, in 2011, attempted to repeal the efficiency standards for light bulbs. Upton, who cosponsored the 2007 bill, stated: “The public response on this issue is a clear signal that markets—not governments—should be driving technological advancements.”

Nearly half of the Republicans who originally voted for the 2007 law voted for the repeal of the standards in 2011. The repeal failed because, as the New York Times reported: “Democrats, despite being in the minority in the House, were able to defeat the repeal on a vote of 233 to 193 because the measure was brought up under rules that require a two-thirds majority for passage.”

Democrats ridiculed the Republicans for taking “American families another step backward and voting on a bill rolling back bipartisan energy standards which will save consumers $12.5 billion when fully implemented.” Leader Nancy Pelosi’s blog claimed that Republicans “are up-in-arms over a provision encouraging the production of more energy efficient light bulbs.” (Encouraging? They are mandated by law.)

fivegTime magazine scoffed at the Republicans who were “defending our freedom again, this time our freedom to buy inefficient light bulbs.” Michael Grunwald, the author of the Time piece, defended the efficiency standards, calling them: “a virtually pain-free way to dramatically reduce our energy independence, our carbon emissions and our utility bills. They do involve a bit of government interference in the free market, but…” He called the Republicans’ efforts: “pure political theater” because “Republicans know that it’s not going to pass the Senate, and if it somehow did, President Obama would veto it.”

Nearly four years after the failed repeal attempt, the attitude about government intrusion, thanks in large part to ObamaCare, is much more negative. The New York Post (NYP) Editorial Board states: “If you build a better light bulb—at a good price—consumers will come to it of their own accord. The fact that this has to be mandated to be successful should cause concern.”

bettrtmWhat if Americans do like the “freedom to buy inefficient light bulbs?” After all, we like the freedom to buy inefficient trucks—with the Ford F-150 being the number one selling car in America in 2013.

Mark Simone, WOR Radio talk show host, during his January 3 appearance on the Kudlow Report addressing the 2014 election cycle, postulated: “You know what’s going to be a big issue, nobody’s even thought about this, the light bulb is going to be the big deciding issue here. As of right now, you’re not allowed to make a regular light bulb or import it into this country. …nobody’s going to like it …What happened here? The government tells you what light bulb you can use?” Simone calls the light bulb ban “the greatest single act of government control where no public need exists.”

Which should make you wonder: “Why is the government pushing so hard on energy efficiency? Shouldn’t it be a choice to buy energy-efficient, albeit more expensive, light bulbs, or not?”

Under the Obama Administration we’ve seen many mandates for increased efficiency—55 miles per gallon of gasoline and requiring microwave ovens to use less power in stand-by mode are just two examples of government controlling our choices. It is not that efficiency is wrong or bad, but as the NYP Editorial Board posited: “The fact that this has to be mandated to be successful should cause concern.”

In response to a question about light bulbs that I posted on my Facebook page, one man responded: “I switched to compact fluorescent bulbs years before because it made sense for the money I saved. Not because I was forced to.” It is great that he could afford the choice. The NYP states: “The average house has about 100 light bulbs. The average cost of a light bulb in 2007 when the law was passed was 25 cents meaning your house had about $25 worth of light bulbs. Today, those same 100 light bulbs would set you back about $500.”

Tim Carney, in the Washington Examinerposes “a middle ground between everyone using traditional bulbs and traditional bulbs being illegal. It’s called free choice: Let people choose if they want more efficient and expensive bulbs. Maybe they’ll chose LEDs for some purposes and cheap bulbs for others.”

So, why did supposedly pro-choice Democrats kill the Republicans’ attempt to bring back choice in light bulbs?

I believe that all of the efficiency rules and regulations are to hide the increasing energy rates—especially spiking electricity bills that are 20% higher than they were 6 years ago.

Despite America’s energy boom, electricity has become a very expensive commodity. Investors Business Daily explains it this way: “What’s really at work here is simple: Through unnecessary regulations, government has destroyed another working market, telling us what kind of energy to use regardless of cost—based solely on the Green movement’s moral beliefs about what kinds of energy are ‘good.’”

So, by mandating increased efficiency, which lowers our electricity usage, the pain of higher electricity prices is kicked, as usual, further down the road.

I posted a quick survey on my Facebook page. I asked: “When you get your utility/electric bill, do you pay attention to the kilowatt hours used or to the total dollars?” Within hours I had 118 responses, the vast majority answered dollars—which proves my point. Most of us do not know how much electricity we are using, but we know how much we are spending. When the price goes up, but we use less, the bill remains more or less the same. We are not aware of it.

But, when it used to cost $25 to equip your house with 100 light bulbs and it will now cost $500, the pain will hit home. Consumers will be asking: “What happened to the light bulbs?” They’ll be told that incandescent light bulbs have been outlawed.

Simone told me, during the break, after he mentioned light bulbs as a 2014 election issue on the Kudlow Report, that Larry Kudlow and the other two panelists asked him what he was talking about. None of them knew about the 2007 law that finally took full effect on January 1, 2014—part of the 72% who will be shocked the next time they purchase a new made-in-China light bulb.

As people are literally being forced to live in the dark, there will be public outcry. As Upton found, the “public response” won’t be good. Like ObamaCare, Republicans are on record as trying to change bad policy that takes away free choice—and that could spell trouble for Democrats in the 2014 elections.

I like my light bulbs. Why can’t I keep them?

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About the Author: Marita Noon

Marita Noon

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

  • Ilma

    We have a similar incandescent light bulb ban in the UK, so I now use G9 halogen bulbs in suitable adapters, and bit-by-bit changing all the bulbs to this combination (so I only have to buy G9 bulbs, which I do in packs of 10 from eBay).

    The article hits the relevant point however, free markets are about the better technology winning, so if LEDs are better then incandescents (performance&price), then they will win out. Government have no business meddling in private choices, particularly when there is no evidence whatsoever that the ban has any effect on the climate, which after all is the root of the ban.

    • kpharck

      I live in EU. Just before the ban, I have stocked a cubic metre of incadescent bulbs and I’m assured that during my lifetime no mercury bomb enters my home. The human ingenuity is winning here. For example in Germany the classic bulbs can be purchased as “heating devices”, and in Poland as “shock-proof bulbs for outdoor use only” – it turns out the dummy bureaucrats did leave plenty of loopholes.

      • Ilma

        I heard about the German ‘branding’ of “globe heaters” on the basis that they produce much more heat than light (it seems strange that the greenies don’t like us heating our homes with electric heaters but want us to drive electric cars).

        In the UK, the bulbs labelled “rough service” are quite legal, but the government are quite stupid in that they say they are not suitable for domestic use. Do they not realise domestic use is LESS demanding on the physical construction and ‘in-service’ use than industrial, and no different to commercial use??

        • kpharck

          They have become accessible in Poland as “outdoor use only”, perhaps because of some legislative loophole…
          The stupidity of the bureaucrats is bottomless.

  • geo brecke

    Banning the light bulb is just a start, what other old relics have you been hoarding? Your furnace? How bout that old fridge? Maybe an annual home inspection that gets you certified to remain hooked to the power grid?

    • CraigOlsen

      How about vacuum cleaner manufacturers that brag about how inefficient their motors are? Maybe I should keep quiet. We’ll soon be cleaning our carpets with Chinese lint rollers and packaging tape.

      • kpharck

        EU is already going to limit the vacuum cleaner power to 1400 Watts, so watch out for that coming your way soon.

    • http://www.hamiltonsgarage.com/marmora_green/ Kathy Hamilton

      Funny you mentioned “hoarding”, since that’s allegedly become a big issue requiring intervention by “coalition” members, north of the 49th: http://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windsor-news/2014/01/08/hoarding-coalition-established/

  • Dale3000

    I do not like a nanny govt. A govt. that thinks that they can rule our choices actually is an arrogant govt and thinks we are unable to think for ourselves. Also, it isn’t always in our best interests either, By having govt. doling out to the masses keeps them in their pockets and we can never get our individual power back. What a shame that would be. Isn’t it really dumb to copy a failing system of govt. I cannot see the intelligence of doing this constant change in free marketing. There is never going to be an ideal country where there is no poverty. That is never going to happen but in the U. S., we have the opportunity to climb the ladder to success and failure is not due to race, wealth etc because too many have made it out of poor circumstances because they were willing to work hard and become skilled workers what ever it took to do that.

    • CraigOlsen

      I agree. And our government, democrats especially, is reducing overall incentive and production; and in the end, increasing poverty and all the very things they wish to decrease.

      • Dale3000

        I am happy to have your agreement!!! I am very woried about our country and the direction it is going.

  • CraigOlsen

    We use light bulbs to heat the chicken house just enough when the outdoor temperature gets below zero. Now this will be illegal and the chicken house will be heated with CFL’s. Democrats didn’t realize how much they hate animals.

    • FedUP15232

      I do the same thing to prevent the pipes from freezing. You can’t heat the chicken house with CFL’s. They don’t produce enough heat. Millions of people hate this arrogant, meddling government already. It’s time to replace it.

      • CraigOlsen

        Beyond time. And many of these counterproductive regulations must be repealed as well.

    • John Meech

      There is some truth to this claim and it is also important in the wintertime even in our houses. Although the efficiency of conventional bulbs is low with respect to creating light, the inefficient part of the energy is emitted as relatively high-temperature heat that does provide some reduction in fuel costs to run your furnace. In the summertime of course, we don’t want the heat and there may be electricity savings benefits from not having an air conditioner remove this excess heat from your home. It depends where you live and how much your home relies on air conditioning.

  • marko66

    They will only be able to take my light bulbs out of my cold dead hands. I am sorry to have stole the phrase from the gun rights people. Regardless I an sick of this government telling us what we can and cannot have. It is so absurd. It’s like me telling Obama what type of haircut he should get.

    • Logo

      Preferably about shoulder height!

  • John Meech

    This light-bulb article is self-defeating. If as she claims
    most people pay attention to their electricity cost each month rather
    than the energy used, then they will see a significant drop in energy
    costs if they switch all the 100 light bulbs in one’s home to bulbs that
    use 10 times less energy. What this change is doing is switching
    operating costs into capital costs. The estimated savings over 5 years
    will be about $700 dollars for each home which may not seem like much, but spread
    across the whole of the US will add up to over 80 billion dollars
    (>$5B per year) of money flowing through the economy to accomplish
    other things or for individuals to purchase other mod-cons.

    While I agree that forcing us to make this change is
    draconian, it does strike me that the impact on our economy is
    incredibly significantly positive.

    As well, we will also
    save from the time to have to replace bulbs ever 6 months or so, to now
    replacing bulbs every 6-10 years. Probably not as significant, but still
    better for each of us.

    • pineapple

      What about the mercury which will end up in landfills, rivers, streams, and eventually in the ocean where it will raise the mercury levels in fish and thus in humans?

      • John Meech

        Similar to Ni-Cd batteries, these bulbs will have to be disposed of at end of use to a recycle facility that can deal with the Hg and prevent it from entering the environment. The major problem with Hg emissions in the world today is artisanal gold miners and improperly functioning coal-fired generating stations that don’t prevent Hg emissions.

        • pineapple

          According to the Alabama Municipal
          Electric Authority President and CEO, Fred Clarke Jr., more than 200 coal-based generating plants are scheduled to shut down in the next three to five years.
          This is due in large part to EPA regulations.

          One primary reason for this is to reduce poisonous mercury emissions into the environment.

          While this is happening, the federal government is forcing consumers to convert from incandescent bulbs to
          mercury filled bulbs in order to save energy.

          These mercury filled bulbs will wind up in landfills where the mercury will leach into rivers, streams, and underground aquifers, which are used to irrigate food crops. Mercury that leaches into rivers and streams will eventually reach the oceans where it will raise mercury levels in fish.

          The EPA issued a fifteen step procedure for disposing of a broken mercury filled light bulb. The first step is to remove children and pets from the room. The next step is to open windows in the room. Other steps require treating the broken bulb as a bio-hazard.

          So while the government is protecting us from mercury emissions from power plants, it is poisoning us with
          the mandate to switch to mercury filled light bulbs.

          • John D

            Just another “feature” brought to the American taxpayers by the corrupt Obama administration.

            • CraigOlsen

              I’m for firewood-powered electricity plants. Less than zero carbon emissions. 100% renewable. Less polution than even wind or solar! Only those who understand how much oxygen trees give out over their lifespan understand this. A tree emits the same amount of carbon whether it rots or is turned into energy.

              • TeaParty1776

                Scientific-industrial civilization is an objective need of man’s life. Alleged global warming is unimportant. Nature is a tool for man, not a God to be appeased w/sacrifice.

    • John D

      Wrong, dummy. You will not see a significant drop in energy costs. No one has all 100 watt bulbs (that I know of). No one leaves every light in the house on. And I have used a few of the new bulbs. They DO NOT last nearly as long as advertised. And they are made in China, not the US. So a good portion of the spent buying them will flow to China. And what about the loss of taxes from the shuttered plants that made the old bulbs and the loss of jobs?
      Also, Have you ever read the instructions on what to do if you break one?
      In short, you are an ignoramus.

      • John Meech

        Oh John, how could I be so silly. Of course you are right and I’m a dummy. I suggest your knowledge about the different types of new lights is not up to speed. LEDs for the same lumens use about 1/10 the amount of energy. When one takes into account the loss of heat and the need for additional fuel in the winter, this complicates the calculation of net savings in the north and the need for added energy to run your air conditioning in the south (I think overall, this is likely a wash. Mercury is problematic – yes and their will be costs to do proper recycling. Despite the fat that I recognize the savings are real and people like you with less knowledge don’t see this means the government has decided to step in and force you to use the new bulbs. That I disagree with. If you want to spend your money unwisely, that is your right. There is no collective benefit here except in a really complicated economic model. So although we disagree on the savings, we do agree that you should not be forced to overcome your own stupidity.

        • John Meech

          And by the way, my estimate of $700 savings over 5 years was not based on 100 100 watt bulbs burning for 24 hours per day over 5 years. I don’t like the fluorescent bulbs but the LEDs make sense.

          • kpharck

            The modern white LED’s are, you guess – just UV LEDs covered with a fluorescent dye. So, it turns out you don’t know much indeed.

        • CraigOlsen

          You stated, “If you want to spend your money unwisely, that is your right.”

          It turns out that what we purchase is not our right. In the light bulb case, to paraphrase, you may no longer buy a regular pair of shoes. You must now buy a pair of $500 Nikes. Every year. The ones with tongues made of arsenic. Why? Only one reason. Because the god of the libbies owns the Nike factory pipe dream.

        • john396

          QUOTE “we all know that models do not necessarily reflect reality”

          Exactly. I agree with you that we should save energy if we can, but I don’t agree with your savings numbers.

          See, what you do not figure in is that the energy companies want to save their limited resources, but they do NOT want to pass these savings on to consumers.
          You see back in the 70′s the Government also helped out the natural gas companies, by giving a tax break to anyone that insulated their houses….this was going to conserve our natural resource…natural gas.
          And it worked!! A LOT of people insulated their homes, new windows, etc etc. In fact it worked so well that the gas companies then came back and said they weren’t selling enough gas!!!
          So they let them raise the prices! (So if you did NOT insulate, you had a double loss!)

          Let this be a warning….LoL

  • Rose

    If you want to see an interesting experiment that shows just how dangerous CFL’s are go here:http://farmwars.info/?p=11822&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FarmWars+%28Farm+Wars%29
    I was outraged that now we are required to buy this poison.

    • pineapple

      The E.P.A , at the behest of President O’Bama, is enforcing stringent emission standards on coal fired power plants. This will cause some plants to be closed while others must undergo multi billion dollar modifications.

      Consequently, electricity rates will increase significantly.

      When Presidential candidate O’Bama said “Under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.”, he was not kidding. He also said he would “bankrupt coal companies.”

      This does not bode well for the electric/hybrid cars that President O’Bama wants us all to drive.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. is exporting record amounts of coal to
      other countries, primarily in the Far East, which have much less stringent emission standards than the U.S.

      When this exported coal is burned, the resulting emissions will enter the atmosphere and will be dispersed around the world (including the U.S.)
      by the jet stream and other currents.

      Furthermore, much of the mercury emissions from this exported coal will enter the oceans of the Far East. In 2009, imports made up 84% of the seafood eaten in the United States, most coming from the Far East. (From NOAA reports)

      This example of unintended consequences will: 1.) destroy more U.S.
      jobs, 2.) raise the cost of producing goods in the U.S., 3.) increase home cooling and heating costs, 4.) increase the level of pollutants in the atmosphere, more so than if the coal were burned in the U.S., and 5.) subject American consumers to more mercury in their seafood.

      If President O’Bama and the EPA are so concerned about mercury emissions form U.S. coal fired power plants, why are they not concerned about mercury filled light bulbs that are being foisted on the American public by the federal government?

      If President O’Bama had used the $700 billion in stimulus- money to upgrade power plants, instead of rewarding his supporters, U.S. power plants and American consumers would not be facing this costly dilemma.

      This EPA boondoggle is just another nail in the coffin of the U.S. economy.

      • John D

        Not a day goes by that I don’t say a prayer that this Marxist traitor die a slow, painful death. Probably won’t happen since I am beginning to think he is the Anti-Christ.

        • CraigOlsen

          Other than not being a stout man or working for the EU, he sure fits the bill.

        • TeaParty1776

          The Christian opposition to man’s productive, independent, worldly mind is the basis of Marxism. Obama is a New Leftist (Marxism minus industry and plus environmentalism).

          Sustain man.
          Exploit nature.

  • Leigh

    Those who live in more northerly lattitudes benefit from the “loss” of heat from the incandescent bulbs as that isn’t lost, simply helps heat the home. Since the days are much shorter in winter when we have the greatest need for warmth coincide with the greater need for lighting this is a win-win. In mid summer when the days are extremely long, thus greatly minimizing the need for lighting we don’t have much need for the so-called wasted energy and of course use our lights much less for lighting.
    The worst words to hear are “Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

  • jimdarnall

    I was hoping there is a way to stop this nonsense. It totally amazes me that we have allowed this to happen. What in God’s name will be next. Our rights are disappearing faster every day with no one able to stop the process. This should be against the law. Obama is trampling our rights to choose.Soon we will be calling Obama the US Dictator. He and Hitler would have made good friends

    • John D

      We have to vote al the liberals and RINOs out of office.

      • jimdarnall

        You are so right. More than likely it won’t happen, though I think many will be forced out. I will try to do my part.

  • John D

    This government is the most corrupt I have seen in my lifetime (I’m 70). My mst fervent wish is these federal cretins die a slow, painful death….. In the dark.

  • Logo

    A few years ago, our then Socialist Prime Minister in New Zealand, Helen Clark, proposed the same banning legislation for incandescent lamps. This caused so much furore that she was compelled to back down. And where is this idiotic politician now? About second in charge of the United Nations!!! And with people like her having an influence in the U.N. it is no wonder that the IPCC carries so much nonsensical weight. Turf them all out, I say!

  • eml

    It was obvious after just a few months in office that Obama was not only the first black president, he is the first president who desires to become the first dictator of the United States. I believe Obama will generate a crisis, declare nation-wide martial law, and abolish the 2016 election and all future elections. Obama does not govern according to will of the people and the Constitution–he rules by personal whim and executive fiat. All that is required for a democrat to become a dictator is for the republicans to do nothing. It is far past the time the low-information voters should have awakened to the Kool Aid they were drinking. The country is in a tailspin from which there is no recovery.

    • marko66

      Wake up people for our future is at hand. Get this man out .

  • jimdarnall

    I am upset with myself that I didn’t get down to Ace hardware sooner to buy as many regular light bulbs as possible. Now it is too late.

  • Maggier

    Have you heard of these? http://www.newcandescent.com/ I just refuse to have light bulbs with toxic ingredients. I did buy bulbs in bulk as bulbs went off the market. I’ll buy these newcandescent ones when I start to run out of my hoard.

  • Scott H

    …so someone using several CFL’s which flicker at a rate that makes people tired, puts out UV light, and is filled with mercury is somehow better than someone using a lamp or a few bulbs to light up a room? Keep in mind that mercury exposure causes serious mental health conditions…

  • jameshrust

    A little philosophical thinking. The nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary(1964) of the War On Poverty. Many will say the war is lost because the percentage of poor today is the same as fifty years ago. Our energy policy may be the reason the War On Poverty was lost. Almost without exception, renewable energy programs are more expensive than fossil fuel sources they are supposed to replace. LED light bulbs are $15 replacing a $0.25 light bulb. Since 1977, hundreds of billions, if not more than a trillion, of tax dollars was spent on programs pushing a variety of renewable energy sources–solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, etc. Tax dollars come from everyone in some form. The poor are hurt more by waste of tax dollars because the rich can withstand the losses. I maintain our renewable energy programs take from the poor and give it to the rich. This is the complete opposite of the War On Poverty which was supposed to take from the rich and give it to the poor. Thus the government is engaged in two economic programs that cancel each other.

    Without government interference in energy policy, the nation would produce more inexpensive energy, create millions of high-paying jobs, add trillions annually to our gross domestic product, and have a positive balance of trade. This has to be a successful War On Poverty.

    James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering

  • john396

    QUOTE “play a big role in helping us reduce our energy consumption. These high-tech light bulbs are 70-80% more efficient than the incumbents”

    You would then think that your energy bills will STAY low, and that you are going to save money, but this probably isn’t true.

    You see back in the 70′s the Government also helped out the natural gas companies, by giving a tax break to anyone that insulated their houses….this was going to conserve our natural resource…natural gas.
    And it worked!! A LOT of people insulated their homes, new windows, etc etc. In fact it worked so well that the gas companies then came back and said they weren’t selling enough gas!!!
    So they let them raise the prices! (So if you did NOT insulate, you had a double loss!)

    See energy companies want to conserve resources, they just don’t want to give the price break to YOU!