By Pamenus Tuso
Zimbabwe is set to save over 300 megawatts of power monthly following government’s ban of the manufacturing and selling of high energy consuming bulbs or lighting products.
In a bid to address the country’s worsening power shortages, the government banned incandescent bulbs on 1 May this year under Statutory Instrument 21 of 2017.
Speaking at a energy stakeholders meeting that was held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA ) engineer, Tanda Chisi , said his organisation has targeted the replacement of 5,5 million incandescent bulbs with Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs which will save the country 300 MW of power every month.
“LED bulbs use 90 percent less energy and last more than six times longer than ordinary filament lamps while a conventional bulb uses an average of 130 KWh at $13 per year. A LED bulb requires only 15 KWh at $1, 50 annually. The compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is an energy saver using 24 KWh at $2, 40 per year” said Engineer Chisi.
He said incandescent lamps use 10 times more energy than the equivalent LED lamps for the same light output.
Following the ban, Engineer Chisi said, ZERA will with facilitate the arrest of companies and individuals found selling or manufacturing bulbs and other lighting products that consume too much electricity.
In terms of the new statutory instrument, anyone found using or distributing incandescent bulbs or ordinary filament lamps faces imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to $5,000.
Chisi said ZERA in conjunction with other stakeholders such as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), and the police, would soon embark on countrywide inspections of shops and confiscate any inefficient lighting products and arrest offenders.
The Director of Energy, Conservation and Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Dr Sosten Ziubu, said the ban is aimed at enhancing Zimbabwe’s energy efficiency.
“This regulation is meant to save electricity which will be channelled to other productive sectors of the economy and reduce consumer electricity bills .Moreover, this measure will contribute to foreign currency savings as the country is constantly importing power from South Africa and Mozambique especially during peak hours when the electricity prices are high as well,” he said.
Zimbabwe currently generates about 1, 000 megawatts of electricity while demand is around 1,600 megawatts. South Africa’s state –run electricity company, Eskom has threatened to switch off the country because of outstanding arrears which amount to $603 million.