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Consumer interest in saving energy

The Consumer Council Of Fiji
Saturday, January 05, 2013

IN October last year, the Consumer Council of Fiji started its "Switch and Save" campaign which encourages consumers to use energy-saver light bulbs in order to reduce their electricity bills and also help ease the energy demand.

The campaign will officially be launched on January 8 at the Consumer Council in Suva.

With funding from the Green Action Fund 2012, facilitated by Consumers International, the council has produced a fact sheet on energy-saver light bulb that will be used to educate consumers and raise awareness on how consumers can save money and also help the environment.

Apart from the awareness campaign, the council has also surveyed the market for energy-saver bulbs, in particular, price range and the effectiveness of duty reduction on energy saver light bulbs.

In the government's 2009 National Budget, energy-saver light bulbs less than 25 watts were declared duty-free while duty on non-energy light bulbs was increased by 27 per cent (from 5 per cent to 32 per cent).

The intention of the government was to encourage consumers to purchase energy-saver light bulbs at cheaper prices.

While encouraging consumers to "Switch and Save", the council is also lobbying the government to ensure that tax incentives designed to encourage consumption of energy-saver bulbs are passed on to consumers in the form of cheaper energy-saver bulbs.

Did you know that you can save up to $25.90 per month on lights by switching 10 normal 75W lights with 14W energy saver light bulbs?

Prices for energy-saver light bulbs are higher than normal light bulbs.

However, consumers can recover the price through the savings gained from reduced electricity bills compared to the use of normal light bulbs.

Why make the switch?

* Cost efficient. Efficient lighting can save a lot of money over time.

* CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) consumes as little as one-fifth of the power and lasts up to 13 times longer than incandescent (normal bright) lights.

* The high initial cost of purchasing light can often be recouped in a short time.

* The long life of CFL means that maintenance costs can be much lower than for incandescent lighting.

* CFLs can have different "warmth", colors while some are dimmable.

* Fluorescent tubes have much longer lifetimes (7,500-30,000 h) than incandescent light bulbs (1000 h).

* The efficacy (sensitivity of human vision to light) of fluorescent tube is much higher than that of normal (incandescent) lights.

* The amount of mercury in a CFL is less than 5mg and poses less risk to health as it is well protected in the tubing. Adverse health effects are less likely if breakages are thoroughly cleaned.

* Research shows that CFLs emit extremely small amounts of ultraviolet radiation.

* Environmentally friendly because they use very little electricity compared to the normal bulbs.

* Less electricity consumption means less extraction and burning of fossils, thus cushioning the green house effect. Energy-saver lights are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. One can choose any colour, shape or size which looks good and is fit for purpose.

* Poses no fire risk if its instructions are read well before installation.

How to tell the difference between energy-saver and normal light bulbs?

Normal light bulbs:

* You can see the inside parts, especially the filament wires that burn up to produce light.

* Produces and emits more heat than energy saver bulbs. It also does not last long.

* Is cheaper than energy-saver bulbs when you buy it, but uses 5 times more electricity than energy-saver bulbs. Environmentally unfriendly.

Energy-saver light bulbs:

* The insides are not visible compared to the normal light bulb.

* Called the "energy-saver light bulb" because it uses less electric energy and has longer life than normal bulbs.

* Is more expensive than normal light bulbs when you buy it, but uses less electricity and lasts longer than normal bulbs.

* Environmentally friendly way of saving electricity.

p This is a regular column from the Consumer Council of Fiji. Email: for feedback or queries.

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