Energy firms recently gave away 182 million of the eco-friendly light bulbs to the public as part of the Government’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). Millions of these were pushed through letterboxes by suppliers and landed on doormats to encourage people to go green.

But, according to an Express report, the cost of this exercise has inevitable been passed on to the consumer adding on average £45 to every energy bill.

The old style incandescent light bulb is gradually being phased out. EU legislation has already outlawed the manufacture and import of 100 watt bulbs and this will be extended to 60 watt bulbs in 2011 and 25-40 watt bulbs the following year.

Many argue that forcing us to use these bulbs is misguided. That they do not produce as much light, are not as efficient as claimed and have a potentially huge end of life recycling cost.

It certainly takes time for them to reach full brightness, 4-5 minutes seems to be the norm. But according to an EU FAQ document issued 01 September 2009 “Currently, exaggerated claims are often made on the packaging about the light output of compact fluorescent lamps (e.g. that a 11-12 Watt compact fluorescent lamp would be the equivalent of a 60 Watt conventional incandescent, which is not true).” It also goes on to say that some bulbs don’t last as long as advertised. But it does go on to say that many of the flaws currently found in low energy bulbs are due to quality issues that will be addressed over time by further rule changes. It is claimed that these bulbs will soon rival traditional bulbs in all areas of performance.

There is also the myth that eco-bulbs cannot be used with dimmer switches, but this is not true. Just Google it and you will find many that can be used with traditional dimmer switches.

The EU FAQ document also claims that the use of good quality low energy bulbs is much cheaper and better for the environment even taking into account mercury separation at the end of its life.

With the use of good quality low energy light bulbs we can save ourselves a bit of energy and the planet. But can we save money? One would think ‘less watts used less to pay out’, but the cost of the energy we use will be dictated by shareholders dividends and how much the companies think they can get away with charging us for it.

And did anyone really think that those ‘free’ bulbs would come with no cost to the consumer at all?

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