South Korea to Ban Production, Imports of Incandescent Lighting from 2014

The production and imports of incandescent lighting will be banned in South Korea from next year, the government said Tuesday.

Starting from Jan. 1, 2014, imports of incandescent light bulbs, which have been labeled low-efficient, will be banned permanently, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The move is part of a decision made in 2008 to phase out incandescent light bulbs, which consume as much as six times more energy than high-efficiency LED light bulbs.

Using an incandescent light bulb may cost up to 15,863 won (US$14.14) per year in electricity bills and purchase costs. The amount drops by 82.3 percent to 2,813 won a year when using an LED light bulb instead. There are currently about 30 million incandescent light bulbs still in use in the country. Replacing all of them with high-efficiency LED light bulbs will help save more than 1,800 gigawatts of electricity in a year, which is enough for use by 650,000 households for the same period, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The government has already replaced 99 percent of all incandescent light bulbs in some 8,000 public buildings.

Currently, there is only one local manufacturer of incandescent light bulbs with most of its supplies imported from overseas, principally from China, the ministry said.

"The government will continue to expand the supply of high efficiency light bulbs, such as LED lamps, to minimize public inconvenience and its impact on the market," it said.

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