ONE million LED bulbs are being given away by the government and EDF as they bid to get people to cut energy use by using the new-style lamps.
Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal said she wanted people on very low incomes to be able to go to their mairie with two incandescent or fluorescent bulbs and swap them for two equivalent LEDS which lasted much longer and cost less to run.
Her department is in talks with EDF on a start date for the move, and it could start with a first distribution of 100,000 LED lamps from October.
LEDs use much less energy to give the same amount of light although they are more expensive to buy. The LED equivalent of a 60W bulb is a 8-12W unit – using up to five times less energy. In France lighting makes up 12% of energy consumption – around 56TWh per year – so the potential savings are significant.
Another part of the move will see tens of thousands of new radiators also being offered to people to replace old inefficient radiators dating from the 1970s and 1980s.
Ms Royal told journalists that these “consumed an enormous amount of energy, which weighs very heavily on household budgets”.
She added that the measures were to “to make sure that the Energy Transition law benefits people directly and that it is seen as a good thing”.
The vast operation will be financed through the certificats d'économies d'énergie (CEE) which oblige EDF to offer customers ways to cut their energy consumption. These CEE can also be used to fund renovation works, where they take the form of refunds or money-off vouchers.
People are used to buying 60W or 100W incandescent bulbs but the energy consumption of LEDs is much less and buyers should instead look at the amount of light given as a better guide. Both 60W and 8-12W LEDs give 800 lumens while a 100W incandescent bulb gives 1600 lumens, the same as a 16-20W LED.