April 14, 2015: North Korea makes LED bulbs mandatory in all homes. With the aim to control the power shortages, North Korea is encouraging all homes to convert to to LED lights. Since July 2014, a state-organised project is underway to replace all incandescent bulbs with LED lights.
North Korea also wants people to buy from the domestic manufacturers. However, to shift to LED lighting system, each family has to pay 10,000 KPW per bulb to buy LED bulbs from any state-operated store. North Korea homes usually have three rooms, hence each family needs to buy at least three LED bulbs. Hence the cost of the conversion is not a small amount. It is becoming a costly affair for majority of the families.
Difficulties faced due to costly LED
Due to this high cost, many families find it difficult to change over to LED lights. An LED bulb costs 8 RMB (10,000 KPW) in the market in North Pyongan Province, whereas a standard light bulb costs 3,000 KPW, and a CFL about 15,000 KPW. A 10W LED bulb provides equal amount of light as provided by standard 40w or 60w bulbs. But a 10W LED bulb also seems to be costly for most North Korean families.
LED lights last up to 10 times more as compared to CFLs and incandescent lights. LED bulbs are the most cost-effective and durable option for lighting today, but unfortunately they are still a little expensive than the standard light bulbs. It is to be noted here that unlike most countries in the world, in North Korea, CFLs are expensive than LEDs.
In North Korea, people?s unit meetings at different provinces are doing large scale promotions to spread awareness about the eco-friendly LED bulbs. They are making people aware of the fact that if all households switch over to LED lights, then the country can save about 34% energy, and then it can generate immense amounts of electricity.
Despite such promotions, the rate of shifting to LED lighting is still low. However, with people?s unit leaders telling people that the project is a mandatory, and it is being ordered by the Party, the conversion is expected to gain ground fast.
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