Romania to give citizens vouchers for energy-efficient lightbulbs
The Romanian government will create a program through which people who wish to change their lightbulbs with newer, energy-efficient ones, will receive a RON 200 (EUR 40) voucher. The total cost is estimated to amount to RON 400 mln (EUR 81 mln).
The vouchers can be used to buy LED lightbulbs of at most 15 watts. People living in the countryside, however, say that the older, incandescent lightbulbs, banned by the European Commission in 2018, are more useful as they give more light.
A major hurdle to the government’s plan is that would-be applicants need to register online to receive the vouchers. The requirement effectively shuts off access for the elderly, those without internet access, or those without the ability to use a PC.
The program, modeled after similar ones designed to incentivize people to exchange older appliances or cars for newer models, began without clear data on how many older lightbulbs are still in use. Critics say that the money would have been better placed with another program that helps homeowners buy solar panels.
“The budget allocated for the last year, for 12,000 photovoltaic systems, was RON 240 mln, compared to RON 400 mln that we want to spend on lightbulbs. With these 400 mln we could install 20,000 photovoltaic systems. We could install photovoltaic systems that produce energy to light half a million homes for one year,” said green energy expert Ciprian Cherciu, cited by Digi24.
The implementation of the latter program, titled “Casa Verde Fotovoltaice,” has been slowed by the unexpectedly high number of applications. Around 30,000 people who applied last year are still awaiting funds to buy their solar panels. Environment minister Tanczos Barna promised to supplement the number of state employees processing the abovementioned applications by one hundred. This would, in theory, allow for a faster pace of processing.
The program is set to begin at the end of October.