Green subsidies: Big brother buying products for us.

In the mailbox (and in regular unsolicited phone calls) comes an offer too good to refuse !!!

Up to $400 dollars worth free - no strings attached.... (reading the detail reveals you can get up to 4 devices at the one visit, if the government deems you worthy).

Free ???

Well, it has actually already come out of your pocket if you are one of the diminishing number of tax payers, or even if you pay your own electricity bills - because part of the the cost has already been added to that bill !  So .... why not get some of yours back !
If you are one of the increasing net receivers of the nanny state, why not indeed.

Either way, if you don't like it and chuck it in the cupboard or in the bin after a while, what's to lose?

Sounds like a good idea.  Gee, if my power bills went up, I might even buy one out of my own money.  Luckily, the government is already compensating me for most power increases so that lowers may motivation to use my own money.

What's in the fine print ?

Limited to Melbourne ? Perhaps just one more left over stupidity from the previous Labor government that the Liberals find it too hard to cancel (is everything too hard for them ?).
Links to lossy expensive government propaganda websites as usual that give you no real facts.

What's the product like ?

Reviews in newspapers (1) and online sites (2) show that the product has merit but many faults in conception, design and implementation.


  1. Green Education: Increases the "awareness" of the 3% (3) of energy wastage by standby devices in homes.
  2. Understanding the benevolence of government: Increases the awareness that all social improvement occurs through government regulation or government support. 
  3. Helps a nice Australian company that makes a nice product that looks green.


  1.  Green propaganda: Our governments increasingly feel that it is their right and duty to re-educate us - dmittedly, in a less aggressive way than the Chinese.  Nevertheless, this leads to dangerous presumptions:
    - the people are ignorant, so we cannot base policy decisions on their "populist" wishes.
    - the people require constant education to frighten them away from dangerous products and behaviours.
    - the people need constant education about the role of government so that the come to see it as the solution to all problems.
  2. Pro-government propaganda:  Supports the growing belief system that all social improvement occurs through government regulation or government handout. How could this nice Australian company survive without government handout ?  How can any problem get fixed without government action ?  This mindset is even more dangerous to democracy:
    - the people become more and more passively accepting of more and more regulation which (even though written in seasonably balanced language) is enforced selectively against the selected opponents of the current politicians and their lobby groups.  "Dirty polluters" get the fine tooth comb. Nice greenies get the golden handshake even if the benefits of buying their products are significantly overblown (1)
  3. Picking winners means we all lose: Government involvement in subsidizing products means that the company focus is redirected from pleasing the consumer to pleasing the government. 
    What is the incentive for a competitor ?  Can't beat a price of $0 ! Little advantage to provide a slightly better prouct unless it is also funded by the government.
    What is the incentive for Emerlec ?  No price competition.  No incentive to improve their product.
    As so many people in business understand, the best way to make the most money is to deal with government rather than with markets.
  4. The environmental benefits are exaggerated at best (1), and possibly non-existent. (did the government explore the total cost of manufacture ? materials used ? place of manufacture).
    Even if the Emberlec is chucked in the bin on day 2, the government will still chalk it up as a program success and energy saved.
    So many "green" schemes run on wildly exaggerated estimates of their reduction in carbon-dioxide emission with little of no end user checking.

I know it i counter intuitive to pass over a freebie, but please do here. By doing so, you may be slightly reducing the wind in the sails of these poison baits.

    (1) The great energy turn-off  12/23/2012 Victoria's green efficiency scheme is helping save the planet, right? Gina McCol, The Age
    (3) - no explanation or link to support the "fact", just the title "Baseline Energy Estimates 2008, DEWHA" which google does not know about. Even "DEWHA" seems to have morphed into DSEWPaC (perhaps not enough letters in last acronym ?)

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