South Africa will soon ban the sale of energy-storing light bulbs

Just when we thought we might have dodged the load shedding bullet, South Africa moves to ban sale of energy-storing light bulbs.

It will soon effectively be unlawful to sell fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs for use in South African households.

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According to regulations published by the trade, industry & competition department on Wednesday, It will be unlawful to sell fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs for use in South African households a year from now.

The proposed amendments were published on 1 March 2021 and South Africans had until 30 April of that year to make submissions.

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Trade, industry & competition minister Ebrahim Patel said the new specifications aim to advance the safety, performance and energy efficiency of light bulbs sold in South Africa by eliminating inefficient and environmentally damaging products.

“The proposed regulations do not ban CFL technology itself, but set minimum limits on efficiency,” said Patel.

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Although specific technologies like compact fluorescent (CFL) and incandescent light bulbs are not mentioned, the new specifications set minimum energy-efficiency standards that these lamps are unable to achieve.

Light bulbs
The sale of energy saving lightbulb or lamps has been increasing in SA due to the ongoing load shedding crisis. Images: iStock

The new specifications aim to achieve maximum luminous efficiency: the amount of light a lamp can produce for the power it consumes.

The proposed regulations do not ban CFL technology itself, but set minimum limits on efficiency that energy-saver light bulbs are unable to achieve.

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South Africa’s new specifications include exceptions for applications outside general household lighting use like technical use in studio lighting, theatre lighting, medical use or in emergencies, among others.

But by this time next year the government hopes to have phased out all inefficient and environmentally harmful lighting products in South African homes, including the energy-saver light bulbs

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