Ontario Government to Ban Incandescent Lights by 2012

Ontario Government to Ban Incandescent Lights by 2012

The government of Ontario announced its plan to ban the sale of inefficient light bulbs by 2012.

The move, which follows a similar measure passed by Australia's government in February, is estimated to save six million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.

"It's lights out for old, inefficient bulbs in Ontario," said Energy Minister Dwight Duncan. "By making this one small change, we can all make an enormous difference in the way we use electricity."

New efficient lighting such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) use around 75 per cent less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs. Replacing all 87 million incandescent bulbs in Ontario households with CFLs would save enough energy to power 600,000 homes.

"Together, Ontarians can -- and will -- do their part to fight climate change starting with something as simple as changing a light bulb," Environment Minister Laurel Broten said. "This is an important day for Ontario's environment -- this action alone represents a huge step forward in reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- it's the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road."

In order to develop new performance standards for bulbs, as well as to draft regulations to band the sale of inefficient lighting, the Ministry of Energy will meet with industry, U.S. regulators, and federal and provincial governments. In addition, the government will only purchase energy efficient light bulbs for its own buildings, effective immediately.

"We support the government's initiative to improve the efficiency of all lighting," said Elyse Allan, President and CEO of G.E. Canada. "By encouraging the use of high efficiency lighting, at home and at work, all of us will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Environmental groups applauded the government's decision. Beatrice Olivastri, the CEO of Friends of the Earth Canada said, "A regulation for the ban plus their commitment to immediately cease provincial government's purchases of out-dated bulbs is a recipe for success -- good for energy conservation and good for fighting climate change."

In addition to the ban on incandescents, the government announced the creation of five province-wide conservation initiatives, part of what Duncan and Broten called a "commitment to build a conservation culture."

The new conservation initiatives will provide coupons for energy-saving lights and other devices, offer rebates for making air conditioners and refrigerators more efficient, discount energy bills for customers who reduce their summer energy usage, and Peaksaver, a voluntary program that allows local distribution companies to remotely cycle down central air conditioners, water heaters and pool pumps when the electricity system is stretched.

"These five programs show that conserving electricity can be easy," said Peter Love, Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer. "Consumers begin saving money immediately, both on the products they purchase and by reducing electricity costs."

These announcements are only the latest in a series of programs created by the provincial government. Since 2003, Ontario has made up to $2 billion available for energy efficiency and conservation programs, which Energy Minister Duncan called the "largest coordinated effort Ontario has ever made to conserve electricity."