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Opinion >  Column

Front Porch: Reader feedback illuminates light bulb phase out

It appears my column on the light bulb phase out flipped a few switches in the Spokane area.

The calls and emails that came in response to the column revealed readers on both sides of the lighting spectrum – those who embrace the government-mandated switch and those who are upset about losing their incandescent glow.

One gentleman wrote, “So I must conclude that the hyper-intelligent mastermind bureaucrats who want to control every aspect of our lives including what kind of light bulb we, their subjects, should be allowed to operate are not so intelligent after all. Yet, they feel it is within their right and power to tell us what to do. As someone with a significant math and science background I resent being tormented by these morons, and you should also. I want to use the light bulbs that have served us all so well through the decades.”

Several helpful readers called or wrote to let me know where I could still purchase the illicit bulbs and one enterprising fellow offered to sell me his stash.

Then there were the folks who tried to explain things like this: “We just replaced four 60-watt incandescent floods with 15-watt LEDs for a 75-watt equivalent light and only 60 watts of electricity consumed. In other words 18 percent increase in luminescence with 75 percent reduction in energy usage.”

Oh dear. I never did well with story problems in school and not much has change. So, while I appreciate the illumination attempt, I still don’t see clearly now.

Most readers appreciated the head’s up and I do believe I may have sparked a light bulb buying spree in Spokane County. I’m waiting for retailers to send me thank you notes, but none have been forthcoming.

However, one reader was a bit irritated. He wrote, “You did a great disservice to our community and our government by making light of the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs. I cannot believe you actually pay attention to the world around you and didn’t know about the phase out of these wasteful abominations called incandescent light bulbs.”

Wasteful abominations? Wow! Who knew incandescent loathing could burn so brightly? And he apparently missed the part where I cited a recent study that revealed 1 in 3 Americans were in the dark about the phase out.

But this response was countered by another note which read, “Thanks for your article Cindy. It is extremely important locally, to our entire nation as well as the world. You have hit on a ‘bright’ idea. Keep digging into it.”

The reader also raised a serious issue about the mercury-containing CFL bulbs and wondered what environmental impact these bulbs might have, if disposed of improperly. While I appreciate his encouragement and the additional insight, I must admit my interest in the topic is flickering and fading faster than a fluorescent bulb.

This will be unwelcome news to the irate reader. After urging me to do further research to discover the wonders of LED lighting he requested a follow-up. He wrote, “You will undoubtedly be amazed. You will even say, ‘What took the Feds so long to ban these wasteful incandescent bulbs!’ I’ll be watching for your follow-up column!”

Honestly, after my light bulb spending spree, I don’t want to buy a bunch of LEDs to compare and contrast. Besides, in America we are free to disagree. I like the hot white light of my 60-watt incandescent and I’m not ashamed to say so. But in the way of an olive branch, here is the follow up column, as requested.

It’s always a good thing when readers are motivated to respond to a column whether to agree or disagree – the conversation is an important part of our community dialogue. And while I’m ready to call lights out on this topic, I sincerely appreciate hearing from you.

Contact Cindy Hval at Her previous columns are available online at columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.

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