USE OF ELECTRICITY
by Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad
1. Today the consumption of electricity is increasing at a rapid rate. We are spending a lot of money on building new power plants. We need them of course. We need the light and the power which electricity provides us. We cannot do without electricity.
2. Many people are however complaining about their electricity bill. It makes a big hole in their pockets.
3. Because of this researchers have worked hard to lower the cost of electricity without sacrificing the brightness that we have come to think is indispensable.
4. Recently I was shown new lighting systems which can save more than half our electricity bill without sacrificing our partiality towards bright lights.
5. We are already familiar with the light emitting diode or LED in our cars and televisions. Now the LED can be used for household lighting, for lighting of buildings and stadiums and for street lighting.
6. LED consumes less than half the electricity needed for the same brightness from the conventional incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes. Unlike fluorescent tubes LED light need noballast and the light comes on instantly upon switching on.
7. Supposing all our streets and roads are lit up with these energy saving system we would be saving millions of Ringgits. Actually it has been installed in Langkawi and Karak highway. If all the streets in Malaysia are lit this way, and also all our houses and offices we can do away with some of our power plants. At the very least we need not build too many more.
8. That will be a plan for the nation. But for individual consumers the bill would be much smaller, maybe as low as half the present bill.
9. Besides lighting, there are now air-conditioners and refrigerators which consume less power. These too can reduce electricity bills for householders and restaurants.
10. However the cost of changing to this new system would be higher than the cost of the old system. This makes people reluctant to switch to the new system. On the other hand the savings from the reduced consumption of electricity would, in maybe three years time, cover the extra cost. Since the system can last much longer than three years the user would enjoy quite a lot of savings.
11. The power company may not feel happy at receiving less money for the sale of electricity.
12. For a time the installed capacity would not be fully utilised. But consumption would still grow and eventually the capacity would be fully utilised.
13. What this means is that the power company need not invest in new plants. This would constitute a savings for the power company.
14. The real gainers would be the suppliers of the new energy efficient system and the big users. The nation too would gain.