The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Bulawayo Firm Clinches Energy Savers Deal

BULAWAYO-based firm Okukhulu Enterprises has clinched exclusive distribution dealership for more efficient light energy saving bulbs in what could significantly reduce electricity bills for firms and households.

Okukhulu Enterprises will be the sole distributor of the Light Emitting Diode lights after securing exclusive dealership rights about two months back from Botswana-based company Sharps Electrical (Private) Limited.

The use of LED lighting for homes and offices will result in 80 percent energy saving, which will help in significantly reducing pressure on the national power grid.

Lighting constitutes about 40 percent of the electricity bill.

Okukhulu Enterprises business development manager Mr Bhekimpilo Nkonjela said the efficiency and cost savings from the use of LED lighting was being evaluated at the Phakalane Club House and Resort Hotel in Botswana.

"We are electrical suppliers and have had longstanding history with Sharps Electrical and are one of the firms they have chosen for exclusive distributorship of LED light.

"Our next move is on heavy-duty consumers," said Mr Nkonjela.

"Sharps Electrical did installations for Gaborone City Council's golf club and 80- room hotel.

"Based on the Botswana Power Company tax invoice dated May 25, 2011, monthly savings that can be realised if the existing lighting at the Phakalane Golf Club and

Resort Hotel retrofitted with LED lighting will be BWP19 734,49," he said.

A light emitting diode is a compound semi-conductor device that converts electricity into light. One or more LEDs combined with a driver, housing and other components create a complete LED system, said Mr Nkonjela.

He said after the BPC increased tariffs by 30 percent in July 2011, the Gaborone City Council would realise upwards of BWP25 654,85 per month in savings on Phakalane Golf Club House and Resort Hotel power bill.

Explaining the energy saving efficiency of LED lighting as compared to the halogen bulbs Zesa Holdings is distributing to consumers, Mr Nkonjela said while halogen saves 15 percent energy LED saves 80 percent.

It means where one would ordinarily use a 60-watt light they can use a 5-watt bulb and get better lighting.

Such a development comes at an opportune time for local consumers buckling under heavy electricity bills and struggling to pay electricity expenses due to the ostensibly high cost of electricity.

While Okukhulu Enterprises focus for now is on helping reduce consumers lighting-related power bills, the firm will soon switch to significantly help reduce the electricity bill of heavy users operating on at least 11kV lines.

Mr Nkonjela said they would use what are called variable speed drives, which ensure that your electricity current rises gradually to your operating current, thus

avoiding consumers being billed at peak demand tariffs.

Most consumers of electricity on at least 11kV lines are billed at the peak current demand levels reached mostly when their heavy-duty electrical motors are first switched on during the operation of industrial machinery.

LED lighting accounts for 20 percent of global lighting and with LED lights, which can last for 50 000 hours compared to 2 000 for halogen energy savers, is expected

to claim 75 percent of the global lighting market by 2020.

The other advantage of using LED lighting is the fact that they do not contain lead and mercury, which can be dangerous to humans and animal if the bulbs (for instance halogen) break on disposal. LED lighting, used on substation panels, was used on record players in the 60s, cellphones in the eighties and now on TV back panels.

It is expected that with fast rising use of LED lighting globally would soon replace all lamps.

Okukhulu Enterprises, said Mr Bhekimpilo, is therefore on the hunt for institutions and organisations driven on energy saving considering that power costs constitute a heavy burden on the operations of many organisations.

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