Why ignorance prevails in our “democracy”.

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Sat, 01/16/2010 - 23:13.
t12 Phillips flourescent bulb image jeff buster 1.6.10
These T12 fluorescent light bulbs went obsolete a decade and a half ago. 
But not in Ohio. Because Ohio has the right to be an ignorant state.   Ohio has its own citizens who elect their own legislators.   Ohio citizens have the right to be ignorant.    And democracy will guarantee that the ignorant citizens of Ohio will retain their prerogative to remain backward.   
A few progressive thinkers will not derail the right to be dumb. 
15 years ago the state legislatures in states like Massachusetts and California legislated that their state regulated utilities collect a “energy efficiency” fee on every commercial customer.  The fee was about 1 % of the total monthly bill.   The fee went into a fund to subsidize new energy efficient lighting and motors for the same commercial customers from whom the fee was collected.   So 15 years ago T12 flourescent bulbs were removed from factories and stores in Massachusetts and California and replaced with T8 flourescent bulbs with electronic ballasts.  
T8 bulbs are about three times  more efficient that T12 bulbs.
Last week I visited a friend at a machine shop in Euclid, Ohio.   The shop manager was getting ready to remove all the T12 bulbs in the shop.   I asked the manager if he had checked with his utility (First Energy) to see if they had any energy efficiency subsidy program.   While the manager telephoned First Energy, I looked over the electric bills from the shop to see if there was any fee similar to that charged in Mass and Calif.
I couldn’t see any.
When the spokesperson finally answered the manager on the telephone, they said that First Energy never had had any program to encourage or subsidize energy efficient lighting.   
So there you have it.   Ignorance prevails in Ohio.   Democracy works.  
PS The utilities in Mass and California are faced with increasing loads, while I bet Ohio’s utilities are looking at decreasing loads.   Mass and California either have to find sites for new power generating stations (which is near impossible) or cut peak loads.   Energy efficient lighting helps cut peak loads and thus delay or defer the utilities need to add capacity.   In Ohio, the  utilities profit from inefficient lighting, and it will take democracy another couple of decades to put smart enough legislators in office to see the light.
That’s one thing really fair about “democracy” -  It doesn’t discriminate against you if you just wanna be dumb.


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