Zimbabwe to hand out 5 mln energy-saving bulbs

Aug 15, 2011
Zimbabwe's electricity authority is to hand out 5.5 million energy-saving flourescent bulbs to its consumers in a bid to curb consumption, a state daily newspaper reported Monday.

Zimbabwe's electricity authority is to hand out 5.5 million energy-saving flourescent bulbs to its consumers in a bid to curb consumption, a state daily newspaper reported Monday.

"We will give the compact fluorescent lamps for free in exchange for which we will destroy," Zimbabwe Authority (ZESA) spokesman Fullard Gwasira was quoted as saying by The Herald newspaper.

"This is an immediate term response to relieve our clients from load-shedding."

Gwasira said the compact florescent lamps to be distributed by year-end at a cost of $12 million will save 200 of electricity.

He allayed fears that the energy-saving bulbs have health side effects as they contain mercury saying "there are no adverse effects if properly used."

ZESA will also introduce a new billing system for consumers who have been paying bills based on estimates.

"The prepayment metering system will enable customers to manage their own consumption of electricity," Gwasira said.

Zimbabwe has been battling to produce enough electricity at its main power stations Kariba Hydro and Hwange thermal power stations resulting in massive powercuts lasting up to 10 hours in some cases.

The country requires 2,200 MW per month but it can only produce 1,300 MW, topping up with imports from the .

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3 / 5 (6) Aug 15, 2011
Let's see how CFLs can manage with a third world grid.

My bet is, very poorly. They are not very happy with noisy powerlines, under/overvoltages and repeated black/brownouts.

Even in properly managed grids, rural areas tend to be problematic for CFLs and they don't last very long. The weakest ones pop within months because the ballast electronics can't handle the stress.
5 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2011
"2,200 MW per month" :-/ ???

umm, not sure exactly what this is supposed to mean. 2,200MWh/month, or 2,200MW continuous???

same goes for "will save 200 megawatts" is this peak load or MWh?

Otherwise, very interesting. And yes, very much a band aid over a broken leg. I'd actually go as far as saying this is a terrible idea given the increase in environmental damage that will inevitably occur due to poor methods of disposal, and it really will make very little difference to energy consumption due to an incredibly poor infrastructure.

I expect transmission losses alone make up for hundreds of times more energy use than consumption due to lighting. The main problem with this being that you need real electrical engineers to fix problems with transmission lines and transformers. Something I imagine Zimbabwe is severely lacking.

Where is your infinite wisdom now Mugabe?

2 / 5 (4) Aug 15, 2011
They probably handed them out as it would be too much effort to pay for them in inflated Zimbabwe dollars.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2011
Wow, all that mercury and so many tech savvy people. Not much chance of it contaminating anything there.
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 15, 2011
I hope Gallagher is providing the Sledge-O-Matic 5000 to properly dispose of the incandescents. I've seen his product, it works 100% of the time
2 / 5 (4) Aug 15, 2011
What do you bet that the bulbs came from a U.S. company and the transfer was funded/backed/guaranteed by the import export bank and ultimately the 12 million will not have to be paid by Zimbabwe.
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 15, 2011
The leadership of Zimbabwe seems to be smarter than American Conservatives.
2.4 / 5 (5) Aug 15, 2011
"Wow, all that mercury" - Moebius

5 million bulbs 4 milligrams per bulb = 20 kilograms

World production of Mercury 1,400,000 kilograms.

4.5 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2011
who would have thought Mugabe would bring such enlightenment?