South Africa has saved 1 800 MW of electricity – enough to power a city the size of Durban – through retrofitting power-guzzling incandescent bulbs with energy savers, power utility Eskom said on Monday.
About 43,5-million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were rolled out in South Africa without cost to customers between 2004 and 2010, as part of Eskom’s efficient lighting programme.
This was the highest number of CFLs to be rolled out in the world in one country through a single campaign. Mexico was planning to roll out 30-million CFLs, which would place them second to South Africa.
CFLs, miniature versions of full-sized tubular fluorescents, use up to 80% less electricity than a traditional incandescent light bulb, while providing the same amount of light.
“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,” Eskom GM of integrated demand management Andrew Etzinger said.
He added that the barriers discouraging the widespread use of CFLs had been overcome in over the past six years.
The growing demand for CFLs resulted in prices decreasing from between R60 and R80 for a single bulb in 2004, to about R15 currently.
CFL designs have also come a long way, with bayonet and screw-in fittings now standard for CFLs, making them suitable for most lighting applications where incandescent bulbs are used.
“Now that it is more affordable, easily accessible and can be used in almost any setting, the adoption of CFLs is really starting to gather momentum locally, as it is elsewhere in the world,” he added.
Eskom said that the gap between electricity supply and demand would remain tight until the first unit of the Medupi power station, in Lephalale, starts generating power in 2012.