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Consumers face estimated £2 billion bill to replace light fittings after halogen bulb ban

  • 85 million light fittings need replacing due to the halogen bulb ban — costing consumers £2 billion, or £209 per household[1] 

  • There are 54 million halogen bulbs currently in UK homes and 29 million incandescent lights[2] - meant to have been phased out in 2016

  • A third (32%) of consumers say the ban is coming in too soon, and a fifth (22%) say they plan to start hoarding halogen bulbs[4]

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of consumers don’t understand energy efficiency labels on LED lights or how the wattages compare with traditional bulbs[5]

  • Uswitch.com has launched a Green Hub, giving consumers vital advice on how to make more sustainable energy decisions around the home.

Consumers face a potential £2 billion bill for new light fittings following the September ban on sales of halogen bulbs[1], according to new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service. 

The Government announced earlier this month that halogen light bulbs will be banned from September, and estimate the shift to LED bulbs will cut 1.26 million tonnes of CO2[6].

Replacing the existing 54 million halogen bulbs in UK homes with LEDs will cost households an estimated £109 million — £27 million more than the cost of replacing burned-out bulbs with halogens, as LEDs are about 50p more expensive per bulb[3]. 

However, the greatest cost falls on the estimated ten million households with light fittings that are incompatible with LED bulbs[1].

Some low-wattage light fittings like kitchen and bathroom spotlights need replacing as their transformers are too overpowered for the small amount of electricity required by LED bulbs. 

With households needing to fork out for 4.4 new fittings on average, Britons face a £2 billion bill — an estimated £209 per household[1]. Three in ten households (30%) say they will find it difficult to afford to replace their lighting[4]. 

News of the ban has taken some consumers by surprise, with almost a third (32%) saying it is coming into effect too early. More than a fifth (22%) will get around the ban by hoarding halogen bulbs[4]. 

The Government also plans to apply a new A-G energy efficiency label to light bulb packaging[6]. At present, nearly a quarter (24%) of people find energy efficiency labels confusing, while more than a fifth (22%) don’t understand wattage information on packs[5].

It is likely to take some time for halogen bulbs to be phased out completely. Incandescent bulbs were meant to have been phased out in 2016, but there are still 29.5 million in use across the UK[2]. 

Fluorescent light bulbs, of which there are still an estimated 28 million in use in the UK, will also be phased out from September 2023[2].

Sarah Broomfield, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “LED light bulbs come with lots of benefits, not least the fact that they will help save over a million tonnes of CO2 while also helping people save on their energy bills.

“The announcement that the sale of halogen bulbs will be banned from September may have taken some consumers by surprise, especially those who need to pay for new light fittings or who have to get rid of the halogen lamps that they’ve become attached to.

“While this change may be inconvenient in the short-term, people will soon reap the benefits through cheaper energy costs and the fact that LED bulbs have a long life.” 


Keep up to date on the latest green energy information here

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Ross Stebbing
Phone: 07827 836 709
Email: ross.stebbing@rvu.co.uk
Twitter: @UswitchPR

Notes to editors:
1. Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,004 UK adults from the 11th to 14th June 2021. Results were weighted to reflect a nationally representative criteria. Respondents were asked: ‘How many light fittings will you need to replace in your home?’ 37% said they would need to replace at least one fitting. 37% of 27.6 million households = 10.2 million households. 4.4 is the average number of new fittings needed per household. Checkatrade says £47.50 average cost for a new light fitting. £47.50 X 10.2 million X 4.4 = 2.13 billion. 4.4 light fittings per household X £47.50 cost = £209 per household.
2. Respondents were asked: “How many of the following types of bulbs do you have in your home?” 2.3 halogens on average in UK households. 90% of UK households know how many halogen bulbs they have = 2.5 million bulbs X 27.6 million households X 2.3 = 54.6 million. 97% know how many fluorescent bulbs. 97% of 27.6 million households X 1.1 average fluorescent bulbs = 28 million. 89% know how many incandescent bulbs they have. 89% of 27.6 million households X 1.2 average bulbs = 29.5 million.
3. 54.6 million halogen light bulbs. Average cost of one LED bulb on Screwfix = £1.99. Average cost of one halogen bulb on Screwfix = £1.49. Average 50p more per LED. 54.6 million x £1.99 LEDs = £108.7 million. 50p difference between bulb price. £108.7 million bulbs - £81 million at halogen price = £27 million difference. 
4. Respondents were asked ‘How far do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements about the banning of halogen bulb sales in September?’ 32% said ‘the ban is coming in too soon’. 22% said ‘I am going to start hoarding halogen bulbs to get around the ban’. 30% said ‘I will find it difficult to afford to update my lighting’. 
5. Respondents were asked ‘Do you understand the information labels on bulbs?’ 22% said they do not understand wattage information. 24% said they do not understand energy efficiency information.
6. BEIS announcement - End of halogen light bulbs spells brighter and cleaner future.

About Uswitch 

Uswitch is one of the UK’s top comparison websites for home services switching, including energy, broadband and mobiles. 

More people go to Uswitch to switch their energy, broadband and mobile than any other site, and we have saved consumers over £2.7 billion off their bills since we launched in September 2000.

Free mobile app Utrack also helps households manage their home energy usage and make potential savings. 

Uswitch is part of RVU, a group of online brands with a mission to empower consumers to make more confident home services, insurance and financial decisions.