As of yesterday (1 September) it will no longer be possible for shops to buy or import 60-watt light bulbs, and once retailers’ stocks have run out we will no longer be able to purchase them in the UK.
This is part of an EU directive to improve energy efficiency. The phase-out of the older style of light bulbs began in 2009 when the 100-watt bulb, which has been around since Victorian times, was culled, followed by the 75-watt last year.
The process will be complete next year when the last of the energy-guzzling bulbs, the 40-watt and 25-watt, are phased out.
It is estimated that by changing to more energy-efficient light bulbs, over 900 billion kWh of electricity would be saved. This is turn would bring about a reduction in global emissions of more than 450 million tons of CO2.
However, many people are opposed to being forced to buy the new more expensive energy-saving bulbs.
Sparks, a wholesaler in London, said that the price of an 11-watt compact fluorescent lamp had increased from £1.39 in June to £1.67.
Argos and Sainsbury’s also increased their prices over the past two years, in some cases as much as by 65%.
In 2009, when the 100-watt bulb was phased out, people were panic-buying in the high street as many felt that the new style of bulb is not as bright as the old one.
Critics of the new bulbs also claim that they could trigger health problems for those who suffer from light-sensitive conditions such as migraines.
But the European Commission is confident that the directive will mean an improvement in saving energy.
Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: “This groundbreaking measure delivers a clear message about the EU’s commitment to reach its energy efficiency and climate protection targets. By replacing last century lamps by more performant technologies, European homes will keep the same quality of lighting, while saving energy, CO2 and money.”
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