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Nothing to fear from energy efficient lighting

23 June 2008

Nothing to fear from energy efficient lighting: Greens

The National Party has gone on record for a second time today opposing sustainability and lower energy prices for households.

Gerry Brownlee has attacked the energy efficiency standard for lighting, saying it is heavy-handed.

"I'm sure he also thinks the efficiency standards we have been setting for seven years now for a range of household appliances are also heavy handed - despite the fact they have so far saved households $148 million on their power bills by keeping out power guzzling appliances," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"The new lighting measure is an energy efficiency standard just like these. Unfortunately Gerry hasn't taken the trouble to find out anything about it - he just read an editorial in a newspaper which hadn't taken that trouble either. In answer to his concerns:

* The Ministry for the Environment is working with the lighting industry to set up a nation wide collection and recycling system for compact fluorescent lamps, following a pilot run by Energy Mad which has the Electricity Commission contract for rolling out subsidised bulbs.

* There are new CFLs which work perfectly well with dimmer switches, as well as some which warm up instantly, and a large range of colour and light quality. Phasing out the old inefficient technology will ensure it is worthwhile selling these advanced lamps in New Zealand, as there will be a larger market for them.

* No-one is "compelled to make the change". All existing bulbs can continue to be used. But from October next year, when one blows the range of replacements to choose from will not include the bulbs with the worst efficiency. This means people will be able to "put more food on the table" as the power bill will be less and the lamps will last eight times as long.

* It will also help with energy security if there is less demand in winter - an issue Mr Brownlee says he cares about deeply.

* There are exemptions for specialty bulbs for which there are no workable efficient replacements.

"If the National Party believes the most efficient technologies will sell themselves and everything can be left to the market, they have not been doing their homework or following the debate for the last twenty years."


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