Dubai: A new lighting regulation, drafted by the Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority (Esma), is awaiting cabinet approval, following which all inefficient light bulbs and other lighting units will be phased out, Gulf News has learnt.

The regulation covers all aspects of lighting, from efficiency ratings to energy specifications as well as recycling and safe disposal of bulbs and other equipment.

“We have drafted a birth to death system that will make sure all light bulbs entering the country are safe and efficient. The draft is with the cabinet of ministers at the moment and is expected to be ratified by next month. Once approved and entered into the official gazette, all market players will have six months to phase out inefficient lighting products,” said Mohammad Al Mulla, Director of Metrology at Esma.

A majority of inefficient lighting products include incandescent bulbs, but there are also other bulbs generally considered efficient that might fall under the scanner.

“The law regulates all lighting products and specifies the wattage as well as mercury content of each bulb. Apart from incandescent bulbs some CFL bulbs with high mercury content will be banned,” informed Al Mulla.

Apart from providing guidelines to manufacturers and importers regarding specifications of power efficiency and mercury content, the regulation also governs the safe disposal and recycling of light bulbs.

“Mercury is very dangerous and some CFL bulbs contain high [amounts of] mercury. Our mechanism will make sure these bulbs don’t enter the market, while we will also make sure the bulbs are disposed of safely or recycled according to international standards,” added Al Mulla.

The new law approves all efficient CFL, LED and Halogen bulbs and the specifications of these lighting units will be revised and updated every three years.

Currently, around 85 million bulbs are used in UAE residential units alone, 50 per cent of which are incandescent bulbs. With the new law coming into effect early next year, around half of these light bulbs will have to be replaced.

Al Mulla pointed out that once the law is fully implemented it has the potential to save 2,000 giga-watts of power annually, amounting to savings of an estimated half a billion dirhams in electricity bills.

He added that government agencies will save around Dh700 million in electricity bills annually.

The light bulb regulation is part of Esma’s drive to regulate all electric appliances entering the UAE, with efficiency standards set for all air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines.

Esma has also regulated electric plugs with only three-pin plugs allowed on electric equipment and appliances.

“The law regarding plugs is already in place. All two pin plugs are banned are they are not compatible with our electric system and every electric appliance needs to have a three-pin plug,” asserted Al Mulla.

The efficiency ratings and regulations being implemented by Esma in phases are expected help cut power consumption of the country by half in the next few years.