Ban Incandescent Light Bulbs

19/06/2008 16:29

The Consumer Council of Fiji has been keenly following the Fiji Electricity Authority’s attempts to strategise its operations in order to make the Company more cost-effective in this current economic climate given the spiralling fuel costs and its adverse impact on the operational costs. In due course, the power supplier has taken drastic measures such as downsizing human resource by laying off a number of staff that will undoubtedly prove detrimental to their families and their survival in these financially challenging times.

Instead, the Council believes that FEA could have taken more proactive measures such as lobbying the government to place a ban on the future use of incandescent light bulbs in Fiji that is neither wallet nor environmentally-friendly, including a long-term solution to Fiji’s increasing energy consumption. FEA should follow the example of our neighbours, New Zealand and Australia who has made a decision to ban incandescent lights at the point of sale in their markets from October 2009. Australia has taken a step further to stop the import of the old-style light bulbs. The Council believes this to be a more realistic approach by having a two-fold effect on the environment as well as adhering to principles of sustainable consumption, as it is fundamental that consumers understand and appreciate that certain products do harm the environment.

The Council had earlier stated that FEA needs to do more on its demand-side management. This simply would require FEA to engage more proactively in informing and educating consumers on the use of energy efficient products. For example, FEA should encourage the increased use of fluorescent lights which are 3 to 4 times more efficient and lights up to ten times longer than incandescent lights. Incandescent lights are commonly used lights in Fiji homes, but unknown to consumers, they are highly inefficient and harmful to the environment. Such information should be communicated to consumers.

More importantly, FEA needs to take a more practical stand to lobby the government to put similar bans on harmful products as seen practiced by Australia and New Zealand. Such ban will ensure that the FEA’s daily operations in ensuring power supply to the nation will remain feasible and less financially demanding on the Company and on consumers. It will make certain that energy is used in a sustainable manner that will be advantageous from the financial perspective for both FEA and consumers of the service including having a positive impact on the environment. In fact, the Government has a responsibility to set standards on such products in due consideration to consumer safety and environmental impacts within their policy framework.