Washington Post All Pros, No Cons on Energy Efficiency
The March 15th Washington Post Express ran what otherwise could have been an ad for the energy efficiency rebates that were part of the larger stimulus package. Titled, “A Bailout for Your Electricity Bill” the article says,
About three dozen states will soon offer you a rebate of as much as $250 if you trade in your clunky old clothes washer, refrigerator or water heater for a more efficient model. Besides the money back, you’ll welcome the savings on your electric bill.
If that’s the case, consumers shouldn’t need a rebate for such a good investment. But the article doesn’t lay out the potential drawbacks.
Energy-efficient appliances and mechanisms will not painlessly lower electricity bills. These products often have a higher sticker price and forced reduction in energy use can come at the expense of reduced product performance, features, or reliability. You’re not saving water if you have to flush your toilet or run your washer twice instead of once. Energy efficiency can be beneficial for consumers, but rarely when Washington tries to force it on the public.
Advances in energy efficiency for appliances, or for any other product, do not require government regulations. Manufacturers and consumers are perfectly capable of determining for themselves the proper balance between energy efficiency and other product attributes. Rigid federal standards simply give efficiency priority over everything else, often to the detriment of families and businesses.