The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM) has as of mid April 2017 saved 22Mega Watts (MW) of electric Power demand through free distribution of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Bulbs in the first phase of the Demand Side Management project.
Implementation of the project, which started on 19th December 2016, is one of ESCOM's mitigation measures to reduce the impact of load shedding to customers.
In the project, ESCOM procured a total of 1.2million bulbs, 500,000 of which were to be distributed for free and the rest are to be sold at a subsidized price of K500.00 each. The free distribution phase ended on 14th April 2017. It is expected that installation of all the 1.2million bulbs, which cost MK5.0 billion, will result in a saving of close to 40MW, which can supply around 45,000 domestic and commercial customers. Further, this is comparable to commissioning a power generation station which would have taken not less than 5 years and would have cost about MK70.0 billion.
Retailing of these subsidized LED bulbs will be in exchange with working Incandescent/Ordinary Bulbs or Compact Florescent Lamps (Energy Saver bulbs). Meanwhile, retailing of the LED bulbs has started on a pilot phase, at ESCOM's Customer Service Centers in the major cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu. In Lilongwe, the bulbs are being sold at Magetsi House at City Center and Game Complex at Old town, while in Blantyre, retailing of the bulbs has started at Blantyre office along Sanjika road and at Limbe City Plaza at Yianakis. In Mzuzu, the bulbs are available for sale at Mzuzu Regional Office and in Zomba they are being sold at Zomba Power Station.
The installation of LED bulbs will reduce the demand for electricity for lighting during the evening peak and early morning peak hours thereby minimising the impact of load shedding. Records at ESCOM have shown a substantial decrease in the demand for electricity in beneficiary areas after the installation of the bulbs.
An LED bulb is an energy saver bulb which uses about 10 percent of energy that the ordinary Incandescent Bulb (IB) uses while giving the same amount of light. An LED bulb has a life span of 25,000 hours while an IB has a life span of 1,000 hours. In the long run, an IB is more expensive than an LED due to the regular replacement costs. The low consumption of energy translates into a benefit to the customer in that they pay less in electricity bills.