You are currently viewing Lights go out for incandescent bulb

Lights go out for incandescent bulb

HAVING experienced what may perhaps be the worst energy crisis in the country’s history, several measures are being taken to mitigate the power deficit.
One such measure was the ban on the importation of ordinary bulbs, which are said to be energy inefficient; converting only about five percent of electrical energy into visible light while the rest is wasted as heat energy.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda, who had announced the measure following a Cabinet meeting at Mulungushi International Conference Centre on December 13, said the ban, effective January 1 this year, will save the power utility company, Zesco, 200 megawatts of power.
The measure is meant to conserve energy as government looks at further investments in the energy sector to cushion the current energy challenges the country is facing.
Zambia joins other countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, United States of America, , Canada and the European Union (EU) nations that have either phased or are phasing out the popular traditional bulbs.
On January 1 last year, the incandescent light bulb met its ‘death’ in Canada. On that date, the 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs could no longer be manufactured or imported into Canada, an extension of the ban on 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs that came into effect a year earlier. These were moves made by the federal government to cut energy consumption.
Then, January 1, 2014 marked the seven-year effort to outlaw the ordinary light bulb in the United States. This was in line with the 2007 law signed by President George W Bush that raised the minimum efficiency standards for traditional bulbs. The government started phasing out incandescent bulbs in 2012, starting with the 100-watt bulb, and then followed by the 75-watt bulb. After that, it moved to the 60-watt and the 40-watt bulbs.
In 2011, China had pledged to replace the over one billion incandescent bulbs it uses annually with more energy- efficient models as a way of improving lighting efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
And from September 1, 2012, an EU directive came into force in which retailers were not allowed to sell the 40-watt and 25-watt incandescent bulbs, a follow-up on a similar ban involving the 60-watt and 100-watt bulbs.
For the EU, a socio-economic union of 28 member states, these measures aimed at reducing the energy use of lighting, have been predicted to save 39 terawatt-hours of electricity across the EU annually by 2020.
In the United Kingdom (UK), where before the phase-out began an estimated 200 million incandescent bulbs were sold each year, the government had said the ban would bring an “average annual net benefit” of £108 million to the UK between 2010 and 2020 in energy savings.
However, the ban of incandescent light bulbs had faced opposition in certain quarters for various reasons which included that the replacement technologies do not perform quite as good.
But the green groups welcomed the ban.
“Whatever your view of the EU, this legislation is good news for consumers. It rewards innovative manufacturers and could cut bills by £158 per year. The government should ignore Eurosceptic opposition and help consumers to save money by regulating for efficient products,” Dustin Benton of the Green Alliance was quoted by The Guardian.
It also quoted James Russill, a technical development manager at the Energy Saving Trust, saying the ban was making a “real difference” to the national energy consumption: “Fitting just one energy-saving light bulb can save you an average £3 a year – and by swapping all the incandescent bulbs in your home for energy-saving alternatives, you could save around £30 a year from your energy bills, and 110kg of carbon dioxide.”
The possible alternatives to the old-style bulbs are fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL), LED [light-emitting diode] bulbs and high efficiency incandescents, which are all more energy efficient.
But there is unlikely to be much opposition in Zambia where the need to save energy is being appreciated in the wake of the power deficit that has affected everyone.
President Lungu put it well when he talked about the power crisis when he opened Parliament on September 18 last year.
“It [power deficit] has adversely affected households, small businesses like barbershops, hair salons, poultry, welding dependent on electricity, big industries and other essential services. This is what I think about every day and I want you to know, I want the nation to know, that no one feels the anguish of these disruptions more than I do. My government is doing its very best to alleviate the suffering of our people,” he said.
It is undoubtedly in that spirit that the government has banned incandescent bulbs, which are hugely popular in a world where lighting accounts for 19 percent of electricity use, according to a 2007 estimate from the International Energy Agency.
In any case, the alternatives are significantly more cost-efficient in the long run, according to energy experts.
So, it is goodbye to Thomas Edinson’s century-old incandescent lamp which was the second form of electric light to be developed for commercial use after the carbon arc lamp.