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August 2, 2009

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Residents rally to 1-yuan light bulbs

FIVE 1-yuan (US$0.14) energy-efficient light bulbs for everyone! That's what got Beijing residents queueing up to buy in many communities yesterday morning because the bulbs have a normal retail price of 10 yuan.

Zhang Youfang, a 60-year-old pensioner, spent 140 yuan on 20 more in addition to the five lights "on sale."

"The design of industrial equipment should always be environmentally-oriented. It's for the good of the country and people," Zhang said.

China last year promoted the use of 62 million energy saving light bulbs nationwide and this year allocated 600 million yuan to meet the target of 120 million.

The Beijing Municipal Government cut another 40 percent off the original price, reducing each bulb to only 1 yuan.

Since late June, the 1-yuan bulbs have been selling in many communities on weekends. Every resident can buy five at the preferential price, and beyond that they will cost 7 yuan.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, the city plans to promote 10 million energy saving bulbs.

A 9-watt energy-efficient compact fluorescent tube equals a traditional 40-watt incandescent bulb in brightness.

The National Development and Reform Commission estimates the bulbs will help save 6.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 6.2 million tons and sulfur dioxide by 62,000 tons in a year.

Like Zhang Youfang, many people bought more than the five bulbs covered by the preferential policy.

Zhang Guitian, 80, said he planned to use them in all the lights in his house and use environment-friendly paint to decorate his home this month.

In Zhang's community, 2,000 energy-saving bulbs were sold in one day.

"We didn't need to do any advertising. The bulbs sold out very quickly. In fact, we can hardly meet the demand," said Hou Jun of the community resident committee.

More than 3 million energy-saving bulbs also have been installed by government and businesses.


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