THERE is widespread illegal importation and sale of non-compliant energy saving lamps (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) in the country, the Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission (EC), Dr Ofosu Ahenkorah, has said.
He told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the importation of the illegal CFLs was contrary to the energy efficiency standards and labelling requirements stipulated by the Energy Standards and Labelling Regulations of 2005.
He named some of the CFLs on the market as Elbee, Global, Crabtree Tribe, Ling, Tong Lighting, Harbour, Crystal, Osram Dulux and Economy Hongyao.
The rest are: Gava, Vyba, Oscar Mettro, Miracle Koshi, SL-Prismatic, Ouqi, Philips, Bruder, Ground, Sunsea, Focus, Marksonic (Fine) and Eurolite.
Dr Ahenkorah explained that in 2002, the government, upon the recommendation of the Energy Foundation, removed import duties and Value Added Tax (VAT) on energy saving lamps.
The objective, he said, was to ensure that the sale of energy saving lamps were affordable to the people instead of the incandescent bulbs, which consume four times the energy of CFLs.
He said apart from not lasting long, the inferior lamps did not bright enough, thereby compelling people or consumers to use more of such lamps at one place.
Dr Ahenkorah said having realised that there was the need for lamps imported into the country to meet certain standards, standards were set and gazetted in August, 2003.
To make the standards work, he said, the Legislation of 2005 was passed to make sure that all energy saving lamps complied with the standards set.
He said the discovery of the illegal sale on non-compliant CFLs was made by the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) during a compliance monitoring exercise, saying that in the course of the exercise, it was realised that the illegal lamps did not have labels, a key requirement under the 2005 Legislation.
Section 5(1) of the Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling (non-ducted air conditioners and self-ballasted fluorescent lamps) Regulations, 2005 states that “A person shall not store, offer for sale, sell, distribute, import or otherwise dispose of a self-ballasted lamp unless the lamp bears a label that indicates the minimum performance.”
Dr Ahenkorah said any person who contravened any of the requirements on labelling in the regulations committed an offence and was liable to summary conviction of a fine not exceeding 250 penalty units, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.
Dr Ahenkorah said tests conducted on the illegal lamps showed that instead of the lamps lasting 6000 hours, they lasted 600 hours.
Such a practice, he said, affected the consumer the more, and that “once the consumer loses confidence in the lamps he/she turns to the use of incandescent bulbs, which consumes more energy”.
On the state of the country’s energy situation, Dr Ahenkorah said it was okay.
“I don’t think we would run into the energy crisis again,” he pointed out.