Incandescent bulbs to be banned
Incandescent light bulbs are to be banned in South Africa and all users will have to switch to other sources of light such as the more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that are considerably more expensive.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters yesterday. She says quality standards for the more efficient CFLs were being developed so that users would not want to go back to using the incandescent light bulbs.
She says the regulations to ban incandescent light bulbs would be handled through the National Regulations for Compulsory Specification Act.
Eskom has already distributed 43,5-million CFLs to South African consumers. The bulbs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Apparently the CFL project to distribute a bulb to almost every household in the country had cost R573-million and represented the largest campaign of its kind in the world.
She conceded that many consumers had continued to use the incandescent bulbs because they were considerably cheaper to buy than the CFLs even though they didn’t last as long and had to be replaced after just a few months.
Moreover, consumers dislike the white colour of the light that did not have the same warm glow offered by incandescent bulbs.
Governments throughout the world have been trying to encourage users to switch to the more energy efficient CFL technology in an effort to reduce the amount of electricity used and thereby reduce the impact of climate change on the global climate.
However, Mark Borchers of Sustainable Energy Africa warns that while these regulations will reduce the energy consumption in this country, the government must devise a plan to effectively and safely get rid of used bulbs because the CFLs contain mercury, which can be toxic and hazardous to health.