Saturday 4 January 2014

The New Dark Ages

On the news the other day they were talking about the phasing out of incandescent bulbs during the coming year. The government has banned retailers from importing 75 and 100 watt bulbs as of Jan 1st and 60 and 40 watt bulbs as of Dec 31 2014. Within the year we as a country will be obliged to go green.
I have been using compact fluorescents for years now. In some locations they are very good and they also give a small cost savings over the life of the bulb, if you are inclined to believe the manufacturer. I don’t see why we wouldn’t, when has corporate Canada ever lied to us about their products before? I have found that in some locations, they are just not bright enough for what I need. Sometimes they don’t fit in the fixture that needs a bulb. Sometimes they are just ugly compared to what I have come to believe is the best look for a bulb.

 I am torn about a forced change to the more efficient bulbs. The news report cited that the incandescent bulb cost approximately 30 cents, the compact fluorescent $3 and the LED bulb would cost a whopping $25. Sure the LED is said to last 25 years, but would you have to produce your original receipt if it crapped out after 22 years. I somehow doubt there would be a refund.
No one can argue that using the incandescent bulbs is better for the environment, it isn’t. It uses far more power and creates a toxic problem when we need to dispose of it. Who knows how many billions are made each year and just how many people are employed making them. I suppose the argument is that those people will find jobs making the new bulbs. It has been my experience that that particular scenario rarely works well. If not as many bulbs are being produced, then it stands to reason that fewer people will be needed to make them. I’m sure someone has those numbers and will be able to spin the job losses in a positive way.

What bothers me most is the cost of those new bulbs. I hesitate about buying the incandescent bulbs and search for the cheapest ones at the dollar stores. I have never found any for 30 cents a bulb, but after a longish search, I found them for about 50 cents a bulb. I haven’t really priced out the CF bulbs, but I imagine they are at least $3 per bulb. The LED’s at $25 are laughable to me. I just did a quick count and I have 52 bulbs in the house which would cost me about $1300 to replace. There is no fucking way! I say that and I am what I consider middle class, the poor will be sitting in the dark.
I can’t imagine the brain trust that came up with this idea. You would think they would have an affordable alternative in mind before they banned those horrible incandescent bulbs. I can see an underground black market sprouting up to supply illegal bulbs. Maybe there will be an online equivalent to the speakeasies of prohibition days. I will for sure order bulbs from the Asian countries. Hell, I will probably try to make my own out of cheap Ikea glasses and some twisted wire. Yes…I am that cheap.

Well, the lights will slowly be going out or dimming in Canada during 2014, welcome to the new dark ages.

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