20 January 2011
South Africans have saved 1 800 megawatts worth of electricity – enough to power a city the size of Durban – through energy efficient lighting since 2004, says state company Eskom.
Eskom rolled out 43.5-million free compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in South Africa between 2004 and 2010 – the highest number ever to be rolled out in one country through a single campaign. Mexico is busy planning to roll out 30-million CFLs.
Eskom senior general manager Andrew Etzinger said this week that the success of the company’s National Efficient Lighting Programme was thanks to the millions of energy-conscious, environmentally concerned South Africans.
“The electricity saved as a result of the marked reduction in consumption by lighting in homes and buildings across the country brings us closer to achieving our energy savings targets,” Etzinger said in a statement.
‘Don’t stop saving electricity’
At the same time, Eskom cautioned that the gap between electricity supply and demand in South Africa would remain tight until the first unit of the new Medupi power plant, located in Limpopo province, started generating electricity in 2012.
The parastatal therefore urged the public to continue saving electricity.
Eskom’s compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) rollout was launched to encourage South Africans to switch from incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient CFLs – miniature versions of full-sized tubular fluorescents – in line with global trends.
CFLs use up to 80 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs, while providing the same amount of light.
The CFLs were distributed for free to consumers across the country in exchange for their existing incandescent bulbs.
Barriers to CFLs come down
The environmentlly friendly light bulbs, which used to cost between R60 and R80 per bulb, have now come down in price, coming in at R15 per light bulb on average.
“Over the past six years, we seem to have overcome all of the barriers that once discouraged the widespread use of CFLs,” said Etzinger.
“Now that they are more affordable, easily accessible and can be used in almost any setting that we’d use a normal light bulb, the adoption of CFLs is really starting to gather momentum in this country, as it is elsewhere in the world.”