Monday, September 28, 2009

Light Bulbs: "As C.F.L. Sales Fall, More Incentives Urged" (GE)

From the New York Times:

An official at the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program has issued a grim assessment of the market for compact florescent light bulbs, or C.F.L.s, and is urging that funding for utility incentive programs be intensified.

In a September 18 letter to C.F.L. industry stakeholders, Richard Karney, Energy Star products manager, said that national sales of the bulbs have declined 25 percent from their peak in 2007, with sales in some regions such as Vermont and parts of Massachusetts declining 35 to 50 percent. Further, he noted, shipments of C.F.L.s — which are supposed to last far longer than traditional incandescents –are down 49 percent in 2009 over 2007 levels.

“The market for C.F.L.s is far from transformed,” Mr. Karney wrote. “Based on additional data and analysis that D.O.E. has continued to gather, it’s apparent that the market is headed in the wrong direction.”

Even as sales drop, sponsors of incentive programs report they are facing “severe challenges” in getting continued funding for programs for basic C.F.L.s, according to Mr. Karney. “I am concerned, should these programs experience cuts in funding or outright cancellation, many of the gains we have achieved with this market in the last couple of years could be reversed,” he wrote.

Despite more than a decade of costly C.F.L. promotions — including giveaways, discounted prices and rebates — the bulbs have failed to capture the hearts (and sockets) of American consumers. Mr. Karney said that in regions where C.F.L. campaigns have been heaviest, 75 percent of screw-based sockets still contain incandescents. Nationally, about 90 percent of residential sockets are still occupied by incandescents, D.O.E. has reported....MORE
GE and Phillips mounted a huge lobbying campaign to outlaw incandescent bulbs in the U.S. GE is closing all their U.S. light bulb manufacturing and moving the jobs to China:

How many lobbyists does it take to change a light bulb?

Had Thomas Edison employed the same business strategy as his 21st-Century heirs at General Electric, he would have lobbied Congress to outlaw the candle in 1879 when he perfected and patented the light bulb.

He surely could have masked his self-interested lobbying in some public interest claim, such as fire prevention or the need for wax conservation. Today, the mask is environmentalism.

Earlier this month, Thomas Edison’s GE, together with Sylvania and Philips won a legislative victory when Congress passed an energy bill that would outlaw sale of the standard light bulb by 2012.

Sylvania is the leading light bulb maker worldwide, and GE is tops in America. These two companies, together with Dutch-based Royal Phillips Electronics, concede they basically wrote the new light bulb law. It goes without saying that they stand to profit from it — at consumer expense....

G.E. screwing the American worker one light bulb at a time

You probably missed it because these news items got no fanfare in our Jerry Springeresque corporate media's desire to distract us with inane stupidity like the unlovable loser's Mark Sanford and his wife. In small town America in places like Lexington, Kentucky, Winchester, Va. or Niles, Ohio G.E. continued the giant sell out of America by announcing plant closing of light bulb plants in these towns.

Oh its only 203 here or 125 there and besides the incandescent light bulb industry has been declining and by 2014 you won't even be able to use it. We will have to use more energy efficient CFL bulbs by then.

For years in places like Niles, Ohio jobs making light bulbs paid salaries that allowed Middle Class Americans to buy homes, put children through college, and create vibrant communities that taught us all real honest American values, like working hard and playing by the rules. Something lost on our ethically challenged corporate and governmental leadership.

Since 1980 employment at G.E, light bulb plants has been outsourced to the point that 68% of the jobs now are elsewhere. Most of that has gone to China. ...
GE to Ohio: Turn off your light-bulb factories

So much for "These are jobs that can't be outsourced..."