Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Saving Power

CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are not all they are cracked up to be. Because of certain technical reasons [pdf] they may cut your power use by a factor of four for a given light output but the power company only sees a power of two reduction on their demand. In other words the power companies have to supply power that is not charged to the users. Guess what? Electrical rates will have to go up to compensate. There is also a further technical discussion available. It is possible to fix this problem with more expensive circuits. Look for Congress' new mandate for light manufacturers, as soon as the electric company guys whisper in their ear. This is not a bad thing. Except that Congress has outlawed cheap tungsten lamps even where their low usage, no phantom (reactive) power, and low cost would make sense. Big Brother only has your best interests at heart. Just ask him.

4 comments:

LifeTrek said...

Government hasn't made one good long term decision on energy since the TVA. It's all about which special interests is loudest at the time. And we all suffer.
David

linearthinker said...

The wisdom of TVA is arguable.

David said...

Imagine being the utility-industry lobbyist who has to explain power factor to congressmen (or worse, state legislators)...

AMcGuinn said...

If I understand the article right, it doesn't say that more electricity generation is needed than the 25%, but that low power-factor loads use more "grid capacity", that is, transmission capacity. i.e. a power system that goes from supplying nothing but incandescent light to nothing but CFLs needs 25% as much generation but 50% as much transmission cable as before.

Is this right? (Sorry for jumping in so late, I've been out of touch for a while).