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Subsidies for energy-saving light bulbs
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The government launched a nationwide program yesterday to subsidize the use of 150 million energy-efficient lighting products, in a bid to reduce electricity consumption by 29 billion kWh by 2010.


The green drive was jointly launched by the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).


A circular posted on the NDRC's website said the government will offer a 30 percent subsidy on wholesale purchases and a 50 percent subsidy on retail sales of energy-saving light bulbs.


It did not, however, specify the quantity of bulbs that will qualify for the subsidies.


The government said it will subsidize manufacturers who bid the lowest supply price for the program.


Wang Jianguo, deputy manager of Panasonic Lighting Products Co Ltd, told China Daily in Beijing yesterday: "With the government subsidy, we'd like to lower our price to attract more consumers."


Manufacturers of energy-efficient lighting products must comply with national energy-saving requirements and have well-established aftersales services, the NDRC said.


A list of approved manufacturers and the price of their products will be decided through an opening bidding process, it said.


Liu Qianguang, vice-director of the energy-saving and environmental protection center under the Beijing municipal commission of development and reform, said: "Beijing is taking the lead in this nationwide energy-saving campaign and will launch a program to promote the use of 5 million energy-efficient lighting products by 2010.


"In the past three years, Beijing has promoted the use of 1.8 million energy-efficient bulbs," he told China Daily yesterday.


"This has reduced power consumption by 39 million kW, a saving of 28 million yuan ($3.9 million)."


Liu said the capital's energy-efficient lighting drive covered the subway network and all of the elementary and middle schools in urban areas.


The program will be launched in welfare institutions, universities, supermarkets and shopping malls this year, he said.


"As the next step, we intend to get more citizens involved," Liu said.


Beijing resident Wang Yeping said yesterday she had not bought any energy-efficient bulbs because they were too expensive.


"The energy-efficient bulbs are about 10 to 15 times more expensive than ordinary bulbs," she said.


But energy-efficient bulbs last for up to 12,000 hours, much longer than normal bulbs, a researcher surnamed Yang who works at the energy-saving and environmental protection center, said.


(China Daily January 23, 2008)


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