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Compact Fluorescent Lamps Burn Out Faster Than Expected, Limiting Energy Savings in California's Efficiency Program



California's utilities are spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases of compact fluorescent lamps. But the benefits are turning out to be less than expected.

One reason is that bulbs have gotten so cheap that Californians buy more than they need and sock them away for future use. Another reason is that the bulbs are burning out faster than expected.


California's experience is notable because energy experts have placed high hopes on compact fluorescent lamps. Often spiral-shaped, they screw into existing light sockets and offer energy savings of about 75% over traditional incandescent light bulbs.

Many nations are relying on them to help cut emissions from power plants and stretch electricity supplies further. The United Nations says 8% of global greenhouse-gas emissions are linked to lighting, and that adoption of compact fluorescent lights could cut pollution.

The World Bank has helped dozens of mostly poor nations begin the switch to the bulbs to make electric lighting more affordable. Last June, for example, Bangladesh gave away five million of the bulbs in a single day.

No state has done more to promote compact fluorescent lamps than California. On Jan. 1, the state began phasing out sales of incandescent bulbs, one year ahead of the rest of the nation. A federal law that takes effect in January 2012 requires a 28% improvement in lighting efficiency for conventional bulbs in standard wattages. Compact fluorescent lamps are the logical substitute for traditional incandescent light bulbs, which won't be available in stores after 2014.

California utilities have used ratepayer funds to subsidize sales of more than 100 million of the bulbs since 2006, most of themmade in China. It is part of a comprehensive state effort to use energy-efficiency techniques as a substitute for power production. Subsidized bulbs cost an average of $1.30 in California versus $4 for bulbs not carrying utility subsidies.

Anxious to see what ratepayers got for their money, state utility regulators have devoted millions of dollars in the past three years for evaluation reports and field studies. What California has learned, in a nutshell, is that it is hard to accurately predict and tricky to measure energy savings. It is also difficult to design incentive plans that reward—but don't overly reward—utilities for their promotional efforts.

When it set up its bulb program in 2006, PG&E Corp. thought its customers would buy 53 million compact fluorescent bulbs by 2008. It allotted $92 million for rebates, the most of any utility in the state. Researchers hired by the California Public Utilities Commission concluded earlier this year that fewer bulbs were sold, fewer were screwed in, and they saved less energy than PG&E anticipated.

As a result of these and other adjustments, energy savings attributed to PG&E were pegged at 451.6 million kilowatt hours by regulators, or 73% less than the 1.7 billion kilowatt hours projected by PG&E for the 2006-2008 program.


One hitch was the compact-fluorescent burnout rate. When PG&E began its 2006-2008 program, it figured the useful life of each bulb would be 9.4 years. Now, with experience, it has cut the estimate to 6.3 years, which limits the energy savings. Field tests show higher burnout rates in certain locations, such as bathrooms and in recessed lighting. Turning them on and off a lot also appears to impair longevity.

California regulators have debated whether utilities should be held to the energy savings they promised in order to earn bonus pay. Staff of the state utilities commission said utilities missed their overall-energy savings targets, partly because of disappointing results from light bulbs. Utilities disagree with many of the staff's conclusions.

Steve Malnight, vice president of energy-efficiency programs at PG&E, said the researchers "lost sight of the fact that utilities have produced tremendous value for our customers." Experts agree that compact fluorescent lights save energy over incandescent lights and typically burn longer.

One complexity of California's incentive program is it seeks to reward utilities only for energy savings they directly cause. For example, utilities aren't supposed to get rewarded for bulbs purchased by people who say they would have bought them even without utility promotions.

"We're not only trying to measure the technical side, but determine how much of a difference utilities have made in transforming the market," said Peter Miller, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that supports the utility-lighting programs.

For the 2006-2008 program, utilities said they achieved energy savings from all their energy efficiency programs that were 151% of the goal set by regulators. But the commission's staff, armed with exhaustive studies, said utilities saved only 62% of the goal amount, hurt by the bulbs.

Nevertheless, anxious to move on to the current 2010-2012 program, the commission last month gave the utilities $68 million of rewards, on top of $143.7 million of incentive pay previously awarded. PG&E pocketed $104 million total.

Dian Grueneich, one of two commission members who voted against the final incentive payment, said it rewarded utilities "for subpar performance."

Commission President Michael Peevey, who favored the extra pay, said he didn't want to ding utilities for an incentive program that was "unworkable."

Later this month, the commission will consider a proposal to simplify the incentive program. Utilities would be judged, henceforth, for technology installation rates, but not for the amount of energy actually saved by their efforts.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100...26.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsForth
 

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So? Anyone with common sens knew that they over sold the value of the bulbs.

We've been using CFL for a while now and I place them in areas where they are on or off but not switching or in enclosed areas where they tend to heat (like normal light bulbs BTW).
I mentionned the on/off thing in the other thread.

For example I put them in the living room but not in the toilets/bathroom.

Simple common sens takes you a long way, no need for some obscur paper pusher to tell you what you should do.
 

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I recall MythBusters doing some sort of test on CFLs, convential, and LED lights. Cycled on and off, don't remember how many times. But I do recall the CFLs didn't last long.
 

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So? Anyone with common sens knew that they over sold the value of the bulbs.

We've been using CFL for a while now and I place them in areas where they are on or off but not switching or in enclosed areas where they tend to heat (like normal light bulbs BTW).
I mentionned the on/off thing in the other thread.

For example I put them in the living room but not in the toilets/bathroom.

Simple common sens takes you a long way, no need for some obscur paper pusher to tell you what you should do.
You should call Sacramento and ask for your check. The article says they have spent millions on studies to determine what you figured out on your own. :D
 

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You should call Sacramento and ask for your check. The article says they have spent millions on studies to determine what you figured out on your own. :D
A detailed review of expenses will probably show 1000$ for the study and the rest paid out to unions, hookers for the parties and whatever politicians do instead of doing their work.
 

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once again your missing the point here, its those millions of subsidized sales,dollars, going to china from the U.S.A. political kick-backs,and MILLION$ in THE GREEN AGENDA SUPPORTING ORGANIZATION, STUDIES FUNDING and funneling BILLIONS thru The World Bank, thats the OBJECT,and always was, and any limited SAVINGS at the consumer level is just a happy accident, plus the huge bonus of being able to organize and fund and regulate more government control, giving an excuse for even more future, regulations,ever expanding funding, requiring ,permits, fines, and control thats so addictive to government.
 

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A detailed review of expenses will probably show 1000$ for the study and the rest paid out to unions, hookers for the parties and whatever politicians do instead of doing their work.
:thumbsup: :partyon:
 

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Is Congress finally waking up to hazards of CFLs?
Bulbs 'must be dangerous if they will pollute sewage'

By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

File photo of traditional incandescent light bulbs pictured at an apartment in Munich August 31, 2009. A German entrepreneur is bypassing a European Union ban on light bulbs with more than 60 watts by marketing his own brand as mini heaters. Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs -- by producing them in China, importing them as small heating devices and selling them as heatballs . To improve energy efficiency, the EU banned the sale of bulbs with over 60 watts from September -- to the annoyance of the mechanical engineer from the western city of Essen. TO GO WITH REUTERS LIFE! GERMANY-HEATBALLS/ REUTERS/Michael Dalder/Files (GERMANY BUSINESS ENERGY ENVIRONMENT)

Congress apparently is waking up to the concept that Americans are fully capable of making their own choice about the type of light bulbs they use, and the dangers that are presented by the so-called "green" compact fluorescents the Democrat majority mandated for public use a few years back.

A team of some 15 members of the U.S. House has introduced, and is working for support of the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, H.R. 91, which simply would repeal Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, "which is a de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb."

That ban on incandescents is scheduled to take effect fully in 2012.

Claiming that incandescents were bigger consumers of energy than compact fluorescent bulbs, Congress banned their existence in favor of the CFLs. There has been, ever since, a wave of opposition because of the government's decision to micromanage light bulb choices, as well as the possible dangers from those CFLs.

Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas; Michael Burgess, R-Texas; and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, were among the 15 House members to introduce the plan.

Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum, applauded their work.

"When Elena Kagan was asked in her confirmation hearing by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., if it would be constitutional for the government to order all of us to eat 'three fruits and three vegetables every day,' she evaded answering. She is part of the progressive Obama administration that is committed to the unconstitutional notion that government should tell us how to spend our own money and live our lives, even within our own homes," Schlafly wrote.

"The essence of Obamacare is forcing individual Americans to buy health insurance they don't want. Federal Judge Henry Hudson just ruled it is unconstitutional to force Americans to buy health insurance, and we shouldn't be forced to buy light bulbs we don't want."

Besides, look at the known dangers from CFLs, she wrote.

"CFLs are so toxic because of the mercury in the glass tubing that the cleanup procedure spelled out by the Environmental Protection Agency is downright scary. The EPA warns that if we break a CFL, we must take the pieces to a recycling center and not launder 'clothing or bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage,'" she wrote.

"CFLs must be rather dangerous if they will pollute the sewage," she said.

Burgess told WND the ban on incandescents, signed into law by President Bush, "was one of those areas Congress clearly overstepped its authority."

He said he fought the ban back in 2007 in subcommittee, in committee and on the U.S. House floor, unsuccessfully. But he said the measure actually would be counterproductive.

He cited a home construction project he was involved with where dimmer switches were installed through the structure to save electricity. However, CFLs don't work with dimmer switches.

"We were making a responsible decision about how much energy to purchase," he said, "and then the government says that 'we're going to tell you how much you can use.'"

"This is about more than just energy consumption, it is about personal freedom. Voters sent us a message in November that it is time for politicians and activists in Washington to stop interfering in their lives and manipulating the free market. The light bulb ban is the perfect symbol of that frustration. People don't want Congress dictating what light fixtures they can use," said Barton.

"Traditional incandescent bulbs are cheap and reliable. Alternatives, including the most common replacement Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFLs, are more expensive and health hazards – so why force them on the American people? From the health insurance you're allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to you and your family," Barton said.

"These are the kinds of regulations that make the American people roll their eyes. It is typical of a 'big Washington' solution to a non-existent problem. In this case it manifests itself as an overreach into every American home, one that ships good jobs overseas and infuriates the American consumer," added Blackburn.

Other co-sponsors include: Reps. Todd Akin, R-Mo.; Rob Bishop, R-Utah; Paul Broun, R-Ga.; Ann Marie Buerkle, R-New York; Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Howard Coble, R-N.C.; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; Tom McClintock, R-Calif.; Ron Paul, R-Texas; Steve Scalise, R-La.; Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.; and Don Young, R-Alaska.

The members of Congress noted the CFL drawbacks:

* Most CFLs are not manufactured in the United States. A recent Washington Post story reported that GE is shuttering a plant in Winchester, Va., killing 200 jobs in the process.

* CFLs contain mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. The amount of mercury in one bulb is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. The EPA recommends an elaborate cleanup ritual, including throwing away any clothes or bedding that has come in direct contact with the mercury from the bulb.

* CFLs are not designed to be turned off and on frequently; the lifespan of a CFL may be reduced by up to 85 percent if you switch it off and on a lot.

* People with certain health conditions can be harmed by CFLs. Reactions range from disabling eczema-like reactions, to light sensitivities that can lead to skin cancer.

* And the Energy Star program warns that CFLs can overheat and smoke.

*

The course reversal being considered now in Congress already has been endorsed by talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh.

"One of the first things the Democrat Congress did when they were sworn in and took the oath in 2007 was this light bulb ban," Limbaugh said recently. "So I think symbolically one of the first things we ought to do is repeal it. ...

"The government ought to have not a damn thing to say about the light bulb I buy. It's none of their business, especially when this is based on a total, freaking hoax [climate change]."

"It insults my intelligence that so many people can be made to believe that light bulbs could destroy or irreparably harm something as complex and out of our control as the climate!" he shouted. "I don't care if there are billions of light bulbs on at the same time. I don't care. It's not a factor."

Limbaugh then went on a tirade about Big Brother-style intrusion and incompetence:

They have no business whether I buy a Big Mac, nobody's business how many calories are in it, nobody's business whether there's food justice or what the hell, what kind of toys are in a Big Mac Happy Meal. These people are an order of fries short of a Happy Meal, as far as I'm concerned, and they got no business telling me what kind of lightbulb I can and can't have and when I can turn the damn thing on and off, but they sure want that power. ...

For crying out loud, we got a missile we can't even figure out what it was. We can't figure out where it came from. And they're telling us not to worry about it even though they don't have the slightest clue what it is. Bottom line is they do know what it is and they don't think we can handle being told what it is. They know what it is, we got satellites all over the world that pinpoint this kind of thing.

And now we've got the stupid TSA, Big Sis, all the radiation and crotch grabs, people wearing latex gloves for cavity searches now for people getting on airplanes under the guise of preventing terrorism and so forth. No matter where you look, these incompetent SOBs are trying to take over every aspect of our lives.


Read more: Is Congress finally waking up to hazards of CFLs? http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=248453#ixzz1BrkH041A
 

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Is Congress finally waking up to hazards of CFLs?
Bulbs 'must be dangerous if they will pollute sewage'

By Bob Unruh
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

...
:thumbsup: What I've been posting all along...
cept I thought it would be the very environmentalists that wanted them in the first place, freaking out about the mercury in the water supply, they wanted so desperately, in the form of CFL trash...

Funny thing is...what do these recycling plants do with the broken bulbs? How do the workers feel about handling them? I sure wouldn't want to be downwind of one of those plants. :laughing:

Another excellent example of the government effing up a wet dream...
 
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