Carpe Diem

Crony capitalism: How private industry used government force to kill the traditional light bulb for higher profits

1. In the Reason.tv video above, Nick Gillespie makes the case that the worst nanny state ban going into effect this year is the federal prohibition on traditional incandescent light bulbs. Here’s more:

Before the incandescent bulbs go out for good, it’s worth shining a light on its cause: The ban was pushed by light bulb makers eager to up-sell customers on longer-lasting and much more expensive halogen, compact fluourescent, and LED lighting. When customers balked at paying more for home lighting, General Electric, Sylvania, and Philips did what corporate behemoths always do: They turned to the government for regulation that rigs the market in their favor.

So when you throw out that last 40 cent 40 Watt light bulb, remember that you’re not just tossing out a piece of history, but a piece of what used to be a freer market.

2. In his recent Washington Examiner column, Tim Carney explains that it was “Industry, not environmentalists, that killed traditional bulbs,” here’s a slice:

The 2007 Energy Bill, a stew of regulations and subsidies, set mandatory efficiency standards for most light bulbs. Any bulbs that couldn’t produce a given brightness at the specified energy input would be illegal. That meant the 25-cent bulbs most Americans used in nearly every socket of their home would be outlawed.

People often assume green regulations like this represent the triumph of environmental activists trying to save the planet. That’s rarely the case, and it wasn’t here. Light bulb manufacturers whole-heartedly supported the efficiency standards. General Electric, Sylvania and Philips — the three companies that dominated the bulb industry — all backed the 2007 rule, while opposing proposals to explicitly outlaw incandescent technology (thus leaving the door open for high-efficiency incandescents).

Technologies often run the course from breakthrough innovation to obsolete. Think of the 8-track, the Model T or Kodachrome film. But the market didn’t kill the traditional light bulb. Government did it, at the request of big business.

3. Writing in Reason this week (“Lights Out For America’s Favorite Light Bulb“), Shawn Reagan reminds us that when industry and environmental groups claim that a regulation will solve all of our problems, consumers should be very skeptical – it’s likely “green cronyism” in disguise, here’s more:

The [incandescent bulb] ban is crony capitalism in its most seductive form—when it’s disguised as green. Major light bulb manufacturers supported the ban from the outset. The profit margin on old-style bulbs was pitifully low, and consumers just weren’t buying the higher-margin efficiency bulbs. New standards were needed, a lobbyist for the National Electrical Manufacturing Association told Congress in 2007, “in order to further educate consumers on the benefits of energy-efficient products.”

So Philips Electronics and other manufacturers joined with environmental groups to push for tighter lighting standards. As the New York Times Magazine explained in 2011, “Philips told its environmental allies it was well positioned to capitalize on the transition to new technologies and wanted to get ahead of an efficiency movement that was gaining momentum abroad and in states like California.” After much negotiation, a classic “bootleggers-and-Baptists” coalition was born. Industry and environmental groups agreed to endorse legislation to increase lighting efficiency by 25 to 30 percent.

The light-bulb ban is an example of how political coalitions are formed to force regulations on the general public that benefit a few large producers. A recent survey found that six out of every ten Americans are still in the dark about the latest bulb ban. Meanwhile, the dimwitted light-bulb policy just became the law of the land. The lesson here is straightforward: When industry and environmental groups claim that a regulation will solve all problems, consumers beware. It’s probably green cronyism in disguise.

MP: The industry-driven ban on traditional light bulbs is a classic, public choice example of how a small, well-organized, well-funded group of private firms engages in socially wasteful rent-seeking to influence the political process and enact legislation and regulations that increase the private profits of rent-seeking firms in the industry. Those higher profits though come at the expense of the general public and consumers – who are dispersed and disorganized and at a significant disadvantage in having their interests recognized and served. To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, the political process is frequently like two foxes (e.g. the light bulb manufacturers and their government accomplices) and a chicken (US consumers) taking a vote on what to eat for lunch. Light bulb manufacturers will now be more profitable in the years to come, but millions of Americans will pay a higher price – both in terms of the increased costs of the new light bulbs, and also in terms of a permanent reduction in our economic freedom.

72 thoughts on “Crony capitalism: How private industry used government force to kill the traditional light bulb for higher profits

  1. And going to the garbage dump this morning I see a sign: Fluorescent light bulbs not allowed by the State of Tennessee. Washing demands we use them, Nashville bans disposing of them.

  2. The funniest comment I read over the years surrounding this idiocy from someone defending this ban was someone saying something like “It’s a free country. If you don’t like CFL’s you don’t have to buy them.” I laughed out loud at the irony of someone telling me it’s a free country while defending a law that bans someone from freely buying a light bulb he actually wants.

      • I think I see a really good free market work-around.

        Canadians that need American Medical care just bring a car full of light bulbs with them and VOILA – a WIN-WIN-WIN

        1. the Canadian gets medical care
        2. the Americans get bulbs
        3. the govt gets taught a lesson in free market economics

        I should get a medal or least an “atta boy” from Morg and others for saying this, right?

        ;-)

        • Sorry Canada has banned them as well. So you have to go south of the border to get them. Here is an article from Wikipedia that says where the bulbs have been banned:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs
          Hint it is most developed countries as well as Argentina, and Brazil. In particular all of the Eu and Norway and Switzerland have banned them. So we might have for some folks the bootleg light bulb trade. (Note that in terms of pure economics, no other factors, looking at life cycle costs the bulb looses badly, life cycle includes the cost of energy and the cost of replacing bulbs to get to a specified lifetime, as other bulbs live longer than incandescents)

          • re: ” orry Canada has banned them as well. So you have to go south of the border to get them. Here is an article from Wikipedia that says where the bulbs have been banned:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_incandescent_light_bulbs
            Hint it is most developed countries as well as Argentina, and Brazil. In particular all of the Eu and Norway and Switzerland have banned them”

            so.. it’s risen to the level of a global conspiracy not just a bunch of US manufacturers engaging in crony capitalism in the US?

            jesus… every time you turn around the wacko birds are off the ranch!

          • the OECD
            they would never lie to me
            they’re my deity.

            all you’ll get from me
            appeal to authority
            endless fallacy.

        • “I should get a medal or least an “atta boy” from Morg and others for saying this, right?”

          except for the fact
          that importing those light bulbs
          has been banned too

          so what you’re doing
          is supporting a black market
          just like for cocaine

          yo, man gott ‘em here!
          good stuff! one-hundred watt bulbs!
          shit! run! the 5-0.

      • Are the bulbs still available south of the border? Then you can bootleg bulbs into the country and make money.

        Ya, especially if they were filled with cocaine. DEA doesn’t care about bulb smuggling.

    • That about sums up the regressive left.

      It’s a free country, unless I say otherwise/create new fictitious obligations of others……

  3. Like I said before:

    Regulations to not serve the consumer or make the market more efficient. They serve to protect the incumbent from competition.

  4. re: ” They turned to the government for regulation that rigs the market in their favor.”

    is there real evidence of this or is it an urban conspiracy myth?

    Our local waste folks don’t want CFs in the dumpsters but they have a separate collection bin for them.

    and according to them, the long tubes don’t have the problem that the CFs have…

    No question LEDs are pricey, and they end up on the markdown shelves but they are still pricey and I found out the hard way that if they do not say “dimmable”, they are not..

    and heckfire before you know it – those nasty fascist central planners are going to lobbies by the crony capitalist folks to outlaw water heaters and force everyone to buy on-demand heaters!

    The government should just stop pretending about this and create the Office of Crony Capitalism and Rent Seeking make the whole process more efficient!

    • I found out the hard way that if they do not say “dimmable”, they are not..

      Unlike you, as you prove to get dimmer with each passing day.

    • “The government should just stop pretending about this and create the Office of Crony Capitalism and Rent Seeking make the whole process more efficient!”

      just to be clear here
      are you saying they haven’t?
      that’s most of the state

      • never have seen an evidence that the light bulb industry cooked up this idea….

        got some credible links?.. don’t need those wacko bird links…

        • I didn’t realize the US government was a wacko-bird source, considering how often you cite it.

          But thank you for answering my question: no, you don’t read.

          And this is why nobody takes you seriously! If you actually, you know, took the time to read content, rather than just assuming, you would not be treated like an ignorant buffoon.

          Act like a buffoon and get treated like one.

          • did you provide a link to evidence that refutes?

            nope.

            just more ideological blather..from anti-govt zealots.

          • here Harold :

            http://goo.gl/wyN6LY

            why don’t you sort through this list and find a credible link that support the Washington Examiners claim?

            and did you catch this:

            ” People often assume green regulations like this represent the triumph of environmental activists trying to save the planet. That’s rarely the case, and it wasn’t here. Light bulb manufacturers whole-heartedly supported the efficiency standards. ”

            but in the Examiner article, the ONLY evidence they give is this:

            ” “Philips formed a coalition with environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council to push for higher standards.”

            so Perry says that there was no environmental connection…

            then every right wing/libertarian wacko site on the internet picks up the Examiner story…

            this is how you guys work Harold..

            your politics suck guy.. the truth is the first casualty.

          • See, this is why nobody takes you seriously!

            So much for “reasoned discussion.” All you care about is lobbing ad hominum.

          • Larry,

            I didn’t realize the New York Times was a “right wing/libertarian wacko site.”

            You know, for someone supposedly so vehemently opposed to ad hominum, you sure lead off with them a lot. Reading your comments the past few days, nearly every single one of them was ad hominum.

            You ought to be ashamed for your behavior. Maybe this is why people treat you so poorly?

          • Larry,

            I didn’t realize the New York Times was a “right wing/libertarian wacko site.”

            I see no article in the NYT…

            “You know, for someone supposedly so vehemently opposed to ad hominum, you sure lead off with them a lot. Reading your comments the past few days, nearly every single one of them was ad hominum.”

            Jon – you don’t know an AH from a hole in the ground guy. You’ll never hear me call someone fucking nuts like you’ve done – more than once.

            and as a “monitor” of AH at this site – you sure have a very selective way of noticing who is doing them or not…looks a tad bit one-side to me boy.

            “You ought to be ashamed for your behavior. Maybe this is why people treat you so poorly?”

            ahahahahhah.. right… why don’t you do what the right wing idiots do and total up all the examples and come back and show the ranking by numbers of AH?

            an AH is “to the person” the person you are having the conversation with … I give what I get here and only when provoke over and over..

            the truth is some of the folks here cannot handle views they don’t agree with or don’t like – and it’s not just me.. virtually everyone that comments here with an opposing view gets the same treatment and Jon, I’ve not ONCE heard you call THEM out.

            Now why is that?

          • re: the New York Times – excerpts:

            A 2007 bill, passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress and signed into law by George W. Bush,

            has sent conservative lawmakers, libertarians, some environmental activists and owners of Easy-Bake Ovens into a frenzy of activity

            The law does not outlaw incandescent bulbs or dictate that consumers must use the spiral-shaped compact fluorescent lights that have become increasingly popular in recent years. Rather, it sets standards for the amount of light emitted per watt of power used. Current 100-watt bulbs must become 25 percent more efficient, and makers are designing new bulbs.

            To Representative Joe Barton, the Texas Republican who has sponsored a bill to reverse the new guidelines, that nevertheless means Congress is dictating what types of light Americans can use in their homes.

            the mercury in a single fluorescent bulb is less than what some power plants throw into the atmosphere while generating the electricity it takes to light one incandescent bulb.

            Makers of appliances and light bulbs, meanwhile, support the federal standards because they do not want to have to make scores of products to meet individual state regulations.

            But to many Americans, the 100-watt bulb has become a cause célèbre.

            Tea Party campaigners have adopted it; Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who introduced a bill to repeal the light bulb law in 2008 and again this year, talked about the issue in her response to the president’s State of the Union message in January. And this week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said not only did he resent the light bulb standards but he also blamed the government for poorly working toilets in his house because of the regulations on how much water they should use.

            Nearly all compact fluorescent bulbs are made in Asia, although some United States manufacturers are retooling former factories to make other energy-efficient bulbs.

            The Energy Department says the energy savings are significant. ….. consumers could save nearly $6 billion in 2015.

            A household that upgrades 15 current incandescent bulbs could save about $50 a year, …

            Three-way bulbs, appliance bulbs and a few other specialty products are excluded from the new standards.

            Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative group, said she already had about 100 old-style incandescent light bulbs stored in her basement….she opposed the government interference, but that her hoarding was primarily driven by concerns about the mercury in the compact fluorescent bulbs. Her middle child, a 10-year-old son, is autistic, Ms. Ridenour said. “He’s knocked over quite a few lamps,” she said, and broken plenty of light bulbs in the process.

            Each bulb contains about four milligrams of mercury, compared with 500 milligrams in old-style glass thermometers.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/business/energy-environment/12bulb.html?_r=0

            It’s pretty easy to see that this is a right wing/libertarian
            Cause célèbre – not even on the facts..

            it SAVES money for christ sake.. it cuts down on mercury spewing from smokestacks..

            each CF has less mercury in it that one is generated by a coal plant to light an incandescent.

            then we also have this, totally ignored by the zealots.

            Not all household incandescent light bulbs are going to disappear

            The three-way bulbs, which are slightly larger than standard one-wattage bulbs and contain two filaments, are still manufactured and sold.

            http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2013/01/not_all_household_incandescent.html

            so this issue is not really about the industry engaging in crony capitalism….and rent seeking… on a world-wide basis – it’s really about a broad coalition of environmental groups, industry groups and others seeking standards… to save money and reduce mercury pollution.

            and this is about the right wing, libertarians and wacko-birds making it a bogus issue about increased regulations “forced” on people, even though it was approved by both houses of Congress and a Republican President – all elected and their actions largely supported by a majority of people.

            this is yet another example of willful lying by the Luddite anti-govt fringe folks to propagandize and misrepresent an issue so they can demonize government.

            make up a lie .. propagandize it.. misrepresent the facts.. and gin up the right wing echo machine… on an issue that has worldwide agreement

            … it’s not just an American political issue but listening to the wacko birds.. you’d think this was something unique to America and caused by American Industry rent seeking…and pro-regulation “progressives”.

            nope.. it’s a worldwide conspiracy… apparently…

            this is just how ridiculous these folks look.

            meanwhile in the rest of America where normal people live and work:

            “Most Americans support the U.S. law that begins phasing out traditional light bulbs next year and, despite some consumer grumbling, say they’re satisfied with more efficient alternatives, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup poll.

            Nearly three of four U.S. adults, or 71%, say they have replaced standard light bulbs in their home over the past few years with compact fluorescent lamps or LEDs (light emitting diodes) and 84% say they are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the alternatives, according to the survey of 1,016 U.S. adults taken Feb. 15-16.”

            what next? .. oh yeah.. forgot.. now comes the “mob rule” canard.. right?

          • ” MP: The industry-driven ban on traditional light bulbs is a classic, public choice example of how a small, well-organized, well-funded group of private firms engages in socially wasteful rent-seeking to influence the political process and enact legislation and regulations that increase the private profits of rent-seeking firms in the industry.”

            this has been done on a worldwide basis Perhaps MP should revise this to say – ” A small group engaging in a massive worldwide conspiracy to …increase profits… ”

            incandescent were not banned.. there are quite a few that were exempted but you’d never know that reading Reason and the Washington Examiner, and AEI, eh?

            “Those higher profits though come at the expense of the general public and consumers – who are dispersed and disorganized and at a significant disadvantage in having their interests recognized and served.”

            GOOD LORD! CFs are made primarily by Asian companies, not US but CFs are 75% less expensive than incandescents. They SAVE MONEY!

            ” To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, the political process is frequently like two foxes (e.g. the light bulb manufacturers and their government accomplices) and a chicken (US consumers) taking a vote on what to eat for lunch.”

            cue standard right wing anti-govt blather…slathered on for effect, crank up the volume…

            ” Light bulb manufacturers will now be more profitable in the years to come, but millions of Americans will pay a higher price – both in terms of the increased costs of the new light bulbs, and also in terms of a permanent reduction in our economic freedom.”

            numerous articles point out that CFs SAVE money over incandescents… last about 7 times longer.. that means 7 times fewer bulbs produced… how can that be _more_ profitable if people are buying far few bulbs and saving money in the process? How is that bad for consumers?

            so a good bit of this boils down to the ongoing, never-ending, standard right wing tropes about government taking away one’s economic freedom.. propaganda and misinformation to mislead people about the actual facts

            these same folks opposed efficiency standards for cars and appliances, water-fixtures, etc.. basically anti-efficiency…. people have a “right” to waste their own money… and be responsible for using more coal and spewing out more airborne mercury pollution.

            that’s a “right” to pollute… it’s apparently one of those
            “natural” rights…

            Most consumers LIKE saving money and reducing impacts to the environment…

            the right and Libertarians have devolved into de facto government hate groups… if government is doing something, they hate it – even if a majority of citizens like it… just fire up the echo chamber… and blather away.

            no wonder these types constitute about 10% of the voting electorate… and who whine about “mob rule”.

            The funny but sad thing is that there are people out there who are lazy and gullible and will initially believe the sound-bite propaganda…but you have to ask yourself about the motives of those who knowingly promote bogus information … what IS their motive?

            75% of the American public know this crap is false already..

          • this has been done on a worldwide basis

            Perhaps Idiot Domain should revise his economic philosophy to All The Cool Kids Are Doing it, So we Should Too

          • re: whats “cool”

            well really.. it’s not just 3 American companies rent-seeking.. it appears to be a crap-load of companies around the world that all of them, every one, has been wildly successfully at rent seeking in each of their own countries – at the SAME time!

            that’s AMAZING! it’s like some kind of conspiracy..!!!

            If I were the right wing – I’d be looking at some sort of “connection” between these light companies and climate scientists.. it’s has their fingerprints all over it, eh?

            We KNEW those climate guys had a profit motive in their bogus models… eh?

            so NOW, we KNOW how those corrupt climate scientists are financing their bogus data… they’ve collaborated to outlaw incandescents and replace them with very profitable CFs and a big bonus is that it’s also cutting back on global warming gases…

            the very next thing the right should do is investigate the stock holdings of climate scientists.. to confirm that they all have stock in Phillips and GE…

          • the three links shine above
            like beacons of new knowledge
            but larry won’t read.

            why bother to grasp
            what the others are saying
            when you can babble?

          • Yes Harold, but as Idiot Domain will frequently tell you, government (and Idiot Domain) knows what’s best for you, more than you do.

            Let’s not confuse the totalitarian issue by bringing facts into the discussion.

          • Good LORD Harold!

            “Most Americans support the U.S. law that begins phasing out traditional light bulbs next year and, despite some consumer grumbling, say they’re satisfied with more efficient alternatives, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup poll.

            Nearly three of four U.S. adults, or 71%, say they have replaced standard light bulbs in their home over the past few years with compact fluorescent lamps or LEDs (light emitting diodes) and 84% say they are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the alternatives, according to the survey of 1,016 U.S. adults taken Feb. 15-16.”

            http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/02/poll-americans-ok-newer-light-bulbs/1#.UtGBoPQ3BqI

          • That does NOTHING to disprove my point.

            Once again, you have proven conclusively, you cannot read.

          • perhaps this Harold:

            The incandescent light bulb isn’t dead

            “There is no such thing as an incandescent light bulb ban in the United States. In fact, on the very same day that the 60-watt incandescent light bulb disappears, you’ll be able to buy a 43-watt incandescent light bulb to take its place. Or a 72-watt incandescent bulb. Or a 150-watt incandescent bulb. Or a three-way incandescent light bulb. Or one with a more durable filament for “rough service” applications. There are literally dozens of loopholes. “It’s not like tomorrow people won’t be able to buy an incandescent light bulb,” says GE’s John Strainic.”

            http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/1/5263826/the-incandescent-light-bulb-isnt-dead

            by the way Harold.. where was your outrage in 2007 when Bush signed the legislation?

            sounds pretty bad Harold.. you held your ire until now.. and the “incandescent ban” narrative is false.

            so what do you have left?

            oh yeah.. I forgot.. a good excuse for yet another
            anti-govt rant.

          • Man, Larry, you are the master at making connections between unrelated things. Do your superiors know you’re so bad at reading data?

            And you do not know what my reaction in 2007 was. You did not know me. I did not know you. Here you go assuming again (and another ad hominum).

            This is why nobody takes you seriously.

            Well, that and you’re a little ball of hate.

        • Disprove that Idiot Domain, you are arguing that economics doesn’t apply.

          I will search for lobbying proof that GE (already on Obama’s failed hand jobs committee) was a party.

          You need to disprove that they do not profit from the switchover.

          • I need to disprove a bogus claim that no evidence supports?

            wrong MESA.

            if you want to make a claim, you are the one that needs to prove it.

            the only evidence I can find is that ONE COMPANY teamed up with the NRDC (an environmental group).

            that does not sound like the “industry” working separate from environmental groups..

            so the whole narrative is just more right wing wacko bird stuff.. popular with the anti-govt luddite types but hardly real proof.

            and yet.. do a google search on it and look at all the right wing websites that have picked it up – word-for-word and re-broadcast it.

            it’s a huge wacko-bird echo chamber..

          • Oh no, Idiot Doman, that is precisely your leftist position on Global Warming, but no matter – post-haste, man!

            Find your evidence!

          • Oh no, not looking too good for you, mate

            http://washingtonexaminer.com/timothy-p.-carney-how-ges-green-lobbying-is-killing-u.s.-factory-jobs/article/36662

            Why did GE, founded by Thomas Edison, support a bill that killed the traditional incandescent light bulb?

            The company said in 2007 it wanted to make sure it was working under a single federal efficiency standard, rather than a patchwork of state regulations. GE also touts its compact fluorescents as one of the green products in its “eco-magination” initiative.

            The workers don’t buy the green arguments, pointing to the mercury gas that’s in the fluorescents. “It’s illegal to dump mercury in the river, but not in the landfill,” two of them say in unison—it’s become a dark joke at the factory.

            So, GE gets environmentalist brownie points for selling “clean” light bulbs, and they also get to charge more for their bulbs. But there’s another advantage—they save on labor with fluorescents, because they make the fluorescents in China.

          • but the claim here in CD by Perrry and in the Examiner is that the industry did it and not the environmentalists and the truth seems to be that Phillips and others teamed up with the environmentalists seeking a higher efficiency standard.

            I have yet to see list of companies that lobbied, independent from environmental groups – even though the claim is that’s what happened. why?

          • typical misinformation from the zealots Mesa.

            do you think showing that GE and for that matter virtually all companies – spend money on lobbying proves anything at all with respect to the incandescent light issue?

            this is how whacked out the zealots have become.

            they grab anything they can and claim it is “proof”.

            GOOGLE the incandescent light issue and you get basicall one article by the right leaning Examiner that DOES say ONE company Phillips, DID team up with environmentalists and then that article goes like wild fire throughout the right wing echo chamber – SANS the connection to environmentalists and asserting instead that the entire industry lobbied independently from enviros.

            this is how the right propagandizes issues these days.

            one article in one paper – spurs a frenzy through the right wing echochamber.. and the stuff is not even accurate… Prof. Perry’s blog entry appears in the list of the other right wing sites because – they’re ALL using the sAME key words!

          • the article said congress was pissed at the manufacturers because they had already converted their plants when the tea party was trying to roll back the regulations….

            and then it said:

            ” The first phase of the federal efficiency standard, which was passed in 2007 during President George W. Bush’s administration, went into effect this year. ”

            so this happened under George Bush a Republican?

            this demonstrates a couple of things.. that the industry itself agreed with the environmentalists – as opposed to being independent – as claimed.. and second just how far right the Republican party has moved since 2007.

          • Ladies & gentlemen, we have a (small) breakthrough: Larry Can Read!!!!

            Correct, Idiot Domain, this was started under Bush (something you can actually blame him for, and didn’t know about, surprise) and yes, enviro-wacko regulations cause massive disruption.

  5. What is the cost-benefit to consumers? Higher bulb prices are a cost but lower electricity bills + bulb replacement costs (?) are a benefit together with lower negative externalities (fossil fuel, particularly coal, emissions).

    U.S. electricity consumption has been fairly flat for the last 5 years. I suppose it should decline, ceteris paribus.

    Anecdotally, my household electrical consumption declined by 20% over a 4 year period while the CFL bulbs were being fully ramped into the sockets and bulb replacement costs have been slightly lower. Proper disposal and external lighting in cold weather is a pain in the butt. YMMV

    • What is the cost-benefit to consumers?

      Consumers can choose for themselves what the cost-benefit is. The arrogance of politicians to claim they know what’s best is quite appalling.

      lower electricity bills + bulb replacement costs (?) are a benefit together with lower negative externalities

      Residential energy usage for lighting is minimal, making any electrical saving negligible. The bulb replacement frequency is turning out to be a false claim by manufacturers and politicians as non-incandescent life spans turn out to be wildly over estimated. In fact, in the three years I’ve own my house, I’ve had to replace three incandescents, a small fraction of the number of incandescent bulbs in my house (I use roughly 40 incandescents around my house daily), I’ve had to replace ALL of my CFLs that I use, some twice, so I’m now replacing them with the incandescents that I’ve stocked up on.

      Also, cost isn’t the only reason people like incandescents over ugly CFLs.

      U.S. electricity consumption has been fairly flat for the last 5 years.

      So? This has nothing to do with the ban.

      ceteris paribus

      Always a bad assumption, as things constantly change.

      • Residential energy usage for lighting is minimal, making any electrical saving negligible

        Citation.

        I’ve had to replace three incandescents, a small fraction of the number of incandescent bulbs in my house

        A higher power punishes you for being an asshole.

        • Just a note on lighting. Max power use is during the day at about 3 – 4 pm. Utilities can’t just shut down the power plants at 5:00 pm when power use plummets, because baseline generators take a long time to cycle up and down.

          So consumer light bulbs tend to “save energy” when there is a surplus of energy available. So the reality is – nothing is saved. You are just adding to the surplus energy potential.

          Another note: I can’t believe my email was banned from this site, and Larry can still spout his nonsense and hate. I never called anyone a name. Still bitter and posting much.

          • seriously?

            i hope that was a typo and not a deliberate policy.

            i, for one, am pleased to see you back.

          • @Larry/Morg

            Yeah – when I post using my normal email/name it pretends to let me post – but the posts never show up.
            I see morg – you’re keeping up with the poetry :)

    • “What is the cost-benefit to consumers? Higher bulb prices are a cost but lower electricity bills + bulb replacement costs (?) are a benefit together with lower negative externalities (fossil fuel, particularly coal, emissions).”

      you are leaving out a key factor: quality.

      i have seen homes with CFL’s and with LED lights.

      i hate the light they give off.

      it’s much too harsh, esp compared to “natural light” bulbs.

      personally, i would HATE living in a house with CFL lighting and i am happy to pay the extra $20 a month to have pleasant light.

    • We won’t use any less energy with CFLs/diode/new halogens.

      In fact people could stop using power all together after 6pm every day and no energy would be saved. You can not turn off or slow down baseline energy plants the way you do a car.

      • marque3

        In fact people could stop using power all together after 6pm every day and no energy would be saved. You can not turn off or slow down baseline energy plants the way you do a car.

        That’s only partly true. The true part is that you can’t shut down large scale electric power plants, the not true part is that no energy would be saved by reducing demand.

        When loads are lighter, less fuel is required to keep generators spinning, that fuel being the source of the electrical energy produced.

  6. LED’s are not “white”. They are actually UV and then “doped” to make a white “looking” light. Incandescent is still the only color correct illumination. As for CFL’s being “cheaper” I have yet to have any in daily use that last 4 years. Granted they may be on for more hours than the incandescents, but it is a far cry from the 5 yr 5000 hrs that was on the package.

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