Thursday, February 26, 2009

Changing light bulbs in the state - at what cost?

Axis Technologies presented a glowing endorsement of our state’s embrace of pricey new technology
in this release. The Nebraska-based company is selling at around 30 cents a share and has marketed itself as “the Future of Fluorescent Lighting.” There is plenty of money in this assertion in this Al Gore world. But Axis has also made some troubling claims in the past.
A Dow Jones story from 2007 reports that in November 2006, Axis claimed in a press release that it had landed a deal with Walgreen to convert the drug store chain's lighting. But actually it wasn't true at all.
The story says …Axis Technologies…said a private energy-consulting firm notified it of the Walgreen installation. Axis called that "an incredible opportunity" to showcase its energy-saving lighting technology - and its stock, which trades in the Pink Sheets, jumped nearly 43% the next day.
Walgreen disavows the release, as does Energy Solutions Group, an Appleton, Wis., consulting firm whose clients include Walgreen, and complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"The press release is just not an accurate representation," said Walgreen spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce. She said Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen has 5,584 drugstores and, to date, no equipment from Axis has been installed in any of them. She said Walgreen raised concerns with Axis, but if it issued a correction, "we haven't seen one."
The story goes on to report that:
Axis hasn't been shy in the past about issuing upbeat information. Its Web site's "success stories" feature a Texas A&M University Energy Systems Laboratory study comparing Axis ballasts against a competing product in a terminal at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. The 2005 report concluded the Axis product was superior, offering energy savings of up to 37%.
Harold Huff, an associate research engineer at the lab in College Station, Texas, said he wasn't aware that Axis Technologies had posted the findings, but said the results are accurate. He said ballasts used in the test were donated and that the airport hasn't made any decisions yet on purchasing the product.

So what are we to make of Axis’ claims in today’s press release? And we are looking into just how much Michigan has handed over to Axis in exchange for some fluorescent future.

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