Dear Energy Engineers,

Please let me know in black and white why for the life of me I should purchase bulbs that cost eight times above the amount of the regular bulbs, taking into consideration the current cost of living and every home owner’s endeavor to cut costs and survive the daily vigour of making ends meet. The difference in cost is astronomical?

Even having interacted with engineers, energy engineers to be precise for the last 5 years and generally understanding the way energy works, and in particular lighting solutions; this difference in cost boggles my lay mind. I am an environmentalist; I love the planet and I love nature; and a true testimony to this is my having spent my entire university period doing a bachelor of environmental studies programme over twenty years ago, at a time when the country had not yet woken up to the fact mother nature should be an absolute priority in our speak and way of life.

That notwithstanding, please let me know how one bulb costs Kshs 50 ONLY and another bulb costs and ASTOUNDING Kshs 395! The shape is the same, the wattage is the same as described in the packaging and the weight of the said bulbs are exactly the same… What gives? What miracle will this purported ‘energy saving’ bulb work in my homestead?

The cost of the LED bulb vs. the regular bulb at a local supermarket

I have taken the time to count the number of light bulbs in my apartment. I have walked from room to room including bathrooms and balconies and they amount to just about 20 pieces. For me to replace all the bulbs in my house with these new purported energy saving LED bulbs, requires a significant budgetary entry in my expense sheet. When I think of this figure in comparison with the fruit and vegetable I could buy with that money, for the occupants of my homestead, this would keep their energies up for an entire month – pun fully intended J

Dear Energy Engineers,

Please explain to me in child-speak why exactly I need to make this investment in replacing all my bulbs and if this will somehow solve the world’s problems? This is not the first time we have had these domestic energy saving campaigns going on. Just a few years ago the country launched into an aggressive campaign to have resident owners change their regular bulbs for the so called energy saving bulbs.  In a massive campaign with the French Development Agency the country was to hand out 3.3 million energy saving bulbs in a project that was expected to reduce domestic customers’ power consumption by 130 megawatts during peak hours . There were adverts on national television and huge billboards put out on the streets all around the country. What happened to this project and why are we now on a new campaign about LED bulbs? Is this another project that is soon to fizzle out? We the domestic recipients of these promises are waiting here to see what next… There is always something new and exciting coming up in the energy spectrum. Do we now jump onto the LED lights bandwagon or wait out and see if this actually delivers on the said objectives?

Dear Energy Engineers,

I have stood in the supermarket at length and debated if to take or not to take this expensive piece of lighting. I am yet to be convinced that there is value in this project and if this will make a difference to my bottom line. Ultimately like every Kenyan, I want to save a few shillings and make an investment in my children’s future. As I stand here at the shelf debating this decision, the opening phrase of a soliloquy in of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet – “To Be, or Not To Be…” comes to mind… Only that in my mind the question is “To Buy or Not To Buy the LED bulb”

Dear Energy Engineers –What decision should I make?

By Carolyne Gathuru