Mon | Jun 17, 2019

Ban incandescent bulbs

Published:Tuesday | August 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM


A stroll through the market district downtown will give you some idea of the scope of electricity theft in Jamaica.

You will behold dozens of shops, stalls, wholesales, bag juice factories and dwellings with no functioning JPS meter, and their outside lights on even during the day. There is one common denominator across all of them. They all have the old incandescent 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs.

These bulbs use up to 20 times more than energy-saving bulbs and are the bulb of choice for electricity thieves as they are cheaper. Indeed, why bother to conserve if you are not paying a bill?

Many countries around the world, including Ghana, Senegal, Malaysia, South Korea, the United States, Cuba, members of the European Union and even China have banned incandescent bulbs as they are a huge waste of electricity. For some reason, Jamaica is reluctant to go this route. Surprisingly, there is currently not even any public debate on the matter.

But it makes sense. We can't eliminate electricity theft. But imagine the millions we who have to foot the bill would save, if we got rid of the energy-guzzling incandescent bulbs.

Colin Wheeler