Zimbabwe Bans the Use of Inefficient Incandescent Bulbs

In order to improve energy efficiency, the Zimbabwe government has enacted a new law banning all manufacture, trade and use of incandescent bulbs. The ban will come into effect on May 1st. It is estimated to save up to 40 megawatts of electricity.
 
According to local media, businesses only have three months (January to April) to stock efficient light bulbs such as LED lights and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Those who violate the ban may face six months of imprisonment or a fine.
 
(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)
 
It is estimated that about 10% to 15% electricity customers in Zimbabwe (roughly 1 million) use incandescent bulbs. The chief executive engineer of Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) hopes to phase out the use of these inefficient bulbs by the end of 2017.
 
The switch over is expected to save up to 30 to 40 megawatts of electricity, which could be redirected into pillar industries such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture where frequent outages have reduced production by more than 50%.
 
However, some have questioned the extra costs for high efficiency light bulbs could hinder the transition to LED lighting.
                             
The average cost of a compact fluorescent bulb is US$ 2, while that of an incandescent bulb is 50 cents. However, the former can last 8 times longer – the equivalent of 2.5 years (assuming the light is on 8 hours per day) – than the 125 days that the incandescent bulb lasts.
 
That is to say, one would averagely spend US$ 13 on incandescent light bulbs compared to US$ 2.40 for the CFLs every year. Obviously, the conventional light bulb is more expensive and energy-consuming in the long term.
 
Figures from the ZERA also show that CFL consumes about 24KWh per year whereas an incandescent bulb uses about 130kWh.
 
In fact, countries across Southern Africa such as Namibia, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique have banned the use of incandescent bulbs or are in the act of doing so, which shows the region’s determination to save energy and cut costs. For Asian and European LED lighting companies, this represents a huge market opportunity. 
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