BRITAIN faces a new round of lightbulb chaos with EU plans to ban halogen lights and force people to buy alternatives that are up to 12 times more expensive, experts warned yesterday.
The EU could phase out low-voltage halogen bulbs by as early as next year even though millions are used in shops, offices and the home.
They said consumers face big bills for replacements and predicted a repeat of the chaos when the EU phased out traditional incandescent lightbulbs.
The threat is to 12V MR16s bulbs, which are widely used as directional spotlights. They currently cost about £2 each and are 30 per cent more efficient than old-style bulbs.
Axing them would force consumers to buy energy-saving bulbs or LEDs which last longer but can cost up to £25 each.
LED specialist Simon Leggett of OCG Lighting yesterday said: “Banning low-voltage halogens risks triggering the same problems during the incandescent bulb phase-out, with prices escalating as people stockpiled the outgoing bulbs in defiance of the ban.
This is typical of the EU. It is sensible to push for more environmentally friendly products but they haven’t thought it through.
Consumer Focus Energy director Audrey Gallacher said: “It will not be a popular decision with consumers if these lightbulbs are also to be phased out, as the upfront costs for alternative energy-saving bulbs are much more expensive.”
Daily Express columnist Jasmine Birtles, founder of moneymagpie.com, said: “This is typical of the EU. It is sensible to push for more environmentally friendly products but they haven’t thought it through.
“Replacing halogen with other bulbs may well require an electrician and even a carpenter to come out to change your fittings. This could be a nightmare for the elderly.”