x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Retailers and residents in UAE welcome July ban on incandescent bulbs

From July 1, the import of incandescent bulbs will be banned and replaced by energy efficient lighting products, such as CFLs, LEDs and halogen sources.

ABU DHABI // Replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient lighting will cut pollution and help to protect the environment, residents and retailers say.

From July 1, the import of traditional incandescent bulbs is to be banned and they will be replaced by the more energy efficient sources such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and halogen bulbs.

“These old lights are a thing of past,” said Mohamed Imran Nehal, a lighting shop manager in Abu Dhabi.

“If all these substandard bulbs are wiped from the market, then there will be only green ones and that is good for the environment,” said Mr Nehal, who runs the Mohammed Yakub Nur Electrical Trading shop on Electra Street in the capital.

“Now people can afford it and mostly buy energy efficient bulbs.”

Many of the suppliers and retailers in Abu Dhabi say incandescent bulbs represent only a small portion of their business, favoured by some expatriates because of their low cost.

An incandescent 60-watt bulb costs just Dh1, with an equivalent LED costs Dh12.

While the energy efficient bulbs are more expensive to purchase, a family in an average villa in Dubai could save about Dh2,315 a year by switching, according to the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, which announced the measures last week.

“We are not afraid. We don’t think we’ll lose money. When incandescents will be wiped out from the market, people won’t have a choice to go for inefficient energy bulbs,” said Mohamed Nazrul Islam, in charge of New Electrical and Mechanical Company, also on Electra Street.

“Consumers buy both kinds. But incandescents are bought by expatriates due to lower pricing.”

Environmental chiefs believe the move will save Dh668 million a year, cut energy use by 500 megawatts and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 940,000 tonnes – equivalent to taking 165,000 cars off the road.

Residents also welcomed the move to energy efficient lighting.

Khalid Al Hadrami, who was buying lights on Electra Street, said part of the problem in shifting to modern bulbs was the low price of power in the country.

“The move of the Government is welcome but the main problem is that the electricity in the country is very cheap. That’s the reason people misuse it,” said Mr Al Hadrami, an Emirati.

“Standards should be brought in and offenders must be penalised.”

Asked about the cost of the modern bulbs, he said for a better environment it was a small amount to pay, but there were many old houses off Abu Dhabi island that do not have the fittings for the new types of lights.

“Many residents in suburbs don’t have the right infrastructure to fix modern energy efficient lights, so they have to suffer. There are many old homes outside Abu Dhabi island,” said Mr Al Hadrami.

An Indian expatriate, Rahul Sinha, who was buying an incandescent bulb in a shop on Electra Street agreed that cost was a factor, but said he did not have a problem switching to newer products.

“Mostly we buy incandescents to save money, but if it’s banned then ultimately we have to go for CFLs. But no problem, we can buy them too.”

Hamad Al Dhahiri, another local resident, said: “I use both bulbs at home and don’t feel that I’ll have any problem if incandescents are removed from the market. We’ll buy whatever will be available.

“This is a good decision.”

Larger shops and suppliers said they had already made the switch.

“We only sell energy saving lights such as CFLs and LEDs. We have stopped selling incandescents. And we support the environmentally friendly move of the Government,” said Jean Jeiucho, supervisor at the Ikea store on Yas Island.

Philips Lighting also welcomed the move.

“There is a full range of replacements available to consumers. These include halogen, compact fluorescent and LED, as well as candles for chandeliers,” said Rami Hajjar, general manager of the company’s Middle East division.

“The future of light in the UAE is bright.”

anwar@thenational.ae