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Millions of families facing £200 bill over ban on halogen light bulbs

Brits are facing a potential £2 billion bill – more than £200 per household – for new light fittings following the upcoming September 2021 ban on sales of halogen bulbs.

The Government announced earlier this month that halogen light bulbs will be banned from September – and estimates the shift to LED bulbs will cut 1.26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the gas responsible for global warming.

Carbon dioxide is created not by the bulb itself but by the generation of the electricity the bulb uses. Five times more power is used by a halogen bulb compared to an LED bulb.

Replacing the existing 54 million halogen bulbs in UK homes with LEDs will cost households an estimated £109 million — £27 million more than the cost of replacing burned-out bulbs with halogens, as LEDs are about 50p more expensive per bulb.

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However, the greatest cost falls on the estimated ten million households with light fittings that are incompatible with LED bulbs.

Some low-wattage light fittings like kitchen and bathroom spotlights need replacing as their transformers are too overpowered for the small amount of electricity required by LED bulbs.

With households needing to fork out for around four new fittings on average, Britons face a £2 billion bill — an estimated £209 per household. Three in ten households (30 per cent) say they will find it difficult to afford to replace their lighting.

News of the ban has taken some consumers by surprise, with almost a third (32 per cent) saying it is coming into effect too early. More than a fifth (22 per cent) will get around the ban by hoarding halogen bulbs, according to the new research from Uswitch.com.

The Government also plans to apply a new A-G energy efficiency label to light bulb packaging. At present, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of people find energy efficiency labels confusing, while more than a fifth (22 per cent) don’t understand wattage information on packs.

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It is likely to take some time for halogen bulbs to be phased out completely. Incandescent bulbs were meant to have been phased out in 2016, but there are still 29.5 million in use across the UK.

Fluorescent light bulbs, of which there are still an estimated 28 million in use in the UK, will also be phased out from September 2023.

Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “LED light bulbs come with lots of benefits, not least the fact that they will help save over a million tonnes of CO2 while also helping people save on their energy bills.

“The announcement that the sale of halogen bulbs will be banned from September may have taken some consumers by surprise, especially those who need to pay for new light fittings or who have to get rid of the halogen lamps that they’ve become attached to.

“While this change may be inconvenient in the short-term, people will soon reap the benefits through cheaper energy costs and the fact that LED bulbs have a long life.”



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