Energy saving my arse

As promised, this is my take on the subject of so-called energy saving light bulbs, and the issues of light pollution in our cities.

It is just not true that the old type of light bulbs do not work well, and would often blow. I once had a 60 watt bulb in a light fitting in a hallway, that cost about 20p to buy, and lasted for over ten years. Even in lights or lamps that were used for long periods, like those in a living room, you would still get  through only one or two bulbs in a year. Of greater importance, is the fact that they actually gave enough light to be able to see properly; to read by, or to be able to do hobbies comfortably. They also provided instant illumination, without having to wait for them to glow first, before reaching maximum output; particularly useful in a bathroom, or if just popping into a room briefly, to collect something.

The along comes the Government, or an EU directive, and we are told that the new energy saving bulbs are the way forward. They will be more efficient, use less energy, and save the planet. It doesn’t matter that they don’t fit the lamps properly, or hang clumsily below all the shades we already have, presumably these will all have to be replaced; as well as all the types of bulbs in smaller sizes that will no longer be available, meaning that we will have to throw away thousands of perfectly serviceable smaller light fittings and feature lights. Also disregarded, is the simple fact that we will not have enough light to read by, sew by, knit by, make models by, and our kids will not be able to study, or play, unless in a gloomy haze. Then we discover that the price of these replacement bulbs is laughably astronomical. Only last month, in search of a new bulb for a lamp, I was quoted £14 for one light bulb! The salesman assured me that this was because it was ‘guaranteed’ for ten years, and cost less than an old-fashioned bulb to run. You will be happy to hear that I did not buy it.  Look around hard enough, and you will still be able to get ‘proper’ bulbs in most shops, and they will not cost £14 each. Don’t believe the hype and propaganda, see it for what it is. A whole new market of captive buyers, forced by law, to replace millions of perfectly good bulbs, and tens of thousands of working lamps, and have to buy all new items, at huge cost. Use your commonsense. If they work so well, and they are so efficient, surely they must be cheaper, not more expensive? The estimated savings in the use of electricity have already been overwhelmed by price rises since 2009, and they are set to rise again substantially this year. They are just having us on, as everything called ‘Green’ must be good. The modern mantra.

I have worked in many Government buildings since 2001. None of these have the dim new bulbs; not for them the curly cones of gloom, oh no. They are lit like stadia at night, with thousands of strip lights, multi-bulb fittings, and recessed spotlights. I doubt that you will see the new style bulbs in the homes of the rich or privileged either, they would not fit in their huge chandeliers. It is just for the drones, the workers, the environmentally concerned sheep. We can rest in the dull glow, while the others laugh at us from behind their beautifully bright reading lamps. And it doesn’t end there. As ministers and the EU debate the enforced end of standby facilities on electrical goods, and reductions in the output of the new bulbs (40 watt will do them, let them have gloom), Government buildings, and the office blocks of big companies, are left to blaze all night, radiating light like giant beacons on the cityscape. Even at weekends, when they are mostly unoccupied, they continue to be fully lit, day and night. All the computer terminals, tens of thousands of them, can be clearly seen through the windows. They are all left on. Yet they will enforce the buying of products that stop us leaving anything on standby, and will turn out street lights in dangerous urban areas, all in the name of environmental conscience, and economic cutbacks. Giving us the ultimate two-fingered salute, by leaving all their stuff on, whilst making us turn everything off; turning back the clock in the streets of major cities, returning them to the dangerous darkness of the Dickensian age.

And so, I arrive at light pollution. This is one of the reasons given for many of these measures, especially where it concerns turning off lights on dangerous stretches of urban motorways, and in some city centres. If they really want to tackle light pollution, turn off all the office lights, and the lights in the Council, and Government buildings; that would be a start. I do have an axe to grind here. I like living in the dark countryside; I sleep better, and I can see the stars. However, I am not so sure that I would be so happy with darkness in a big city like London though, as I am certain that the crime rate will rocket, as well as road accidents increase.

At the core of it all, is the ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’ philosophy of modern Government. If we won’t do what they say is best for us, they will legislate us into it. At the same time, they will blatantly continue to do it themselves, more or less laughing in our faces. Stop co-operating, fight back, tell them that you know they are lying.