‘Banning SOME old bulbs in South Africa is a good thing’

Reports show that if the entire South Africa could switch immediately from less efficient incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs to LED lamps, it could prevent up to two stages of load shedding.

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Banning of Some light bulbs

According to Heliogen’s managing director for Africa, Grant Pattison, who spoke to 702’s Bruce Whitfield about recently-published regulations that set minimum limits on light bulb energy efficiency.

The regulations will essentially ban the sale of anything except LED lamps for general household electric lighting from next year.

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Pattison explained that incandescent bulbs are the old technology many South Africans call “globes” that still works by heating a tungsten filament.

This remains the best-selling light bulb in South Africa despite being based on technology Thomas Edison invented almost 150 years ago, Pattison said.

“For some reason, the economics haven’t worked out such that people have stopped buying them,” he said.

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Saving energy and fighting load shedding

That’s despite LED lamps being around ten times more efficient than incandescent globes, he further explains.

Fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, include the tube lights you’ll find in factories, offices, and kitchens around South Africa.

So-called “Energy Saver” compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) also use this technology.

South Africa moves to ban the sale of some energy-saving lights. Image: iStock images

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Compact Fluorescent Lamp technology is 25 years old and consumes twice as much electricity as LED lamps.

“They were the original ‘Energy Saver’ bulbs. If you walk into a store, you’ll still see them called ‘Energy Saver’ bulbs, and they’re by no means energy-saving bulbs at all anymore,” he said.

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He emphasized that the regulations don’t target a specific technology. Instead, it sets an energy-efficiency standard incandescent and fluorescent bulbs don’t meet.