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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free bulbs switch on Ethiopians
Many developing countries cannot afford to build new power stations and Ethiopia has just copied the free hand out of energy saving light bulbs originally done in countries such as Cuba (May 06) and Venezuela (Nov 06).

Ethopians are rushing to get their hands on free energy saving light bulbs which are being handed out by a utility to stop power cuts.

Four million low-energy light bulbs are being given away in exchange for old-style incandescent ones by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. Nearly all Ethiopia's electricity comes from hydro-power. But without rain the dams cannot fill and the lights go out.

The new bulbs will cut peoples' power bills and are supposed to last longer. The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt says the light bulb swap was in full swing when she visited the utility's offices in the capital Addis Ababa. But our correspondent says the snag is that when the new bulbs wear out, customers will find they cost about six times as much as the old ones to replace.

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