Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Free bulbs switch on Ethiopians

Incandescent light bulb
The old bulbs use five times more power than the new ones

Ethiopians are rushing to get their hands on free energy-saving light bulbs which are being handed out by a utility to stop power cuts.

Four million low-energy light bulbs are being given away in exchange for old-style incandescent ones by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation.

Nearly all Ethiopia's electricity comes from hydro-power. But without rain the dams cannot fill and the lights go out.

The new bulbs will cut peoples' power bills and are supposed to last longer.

The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt says the light bulb swap was in full swing when she visited the utility's offices in the capital Addis Ababa.

But our correspondent says the snag is that when the new bulbs wear out, customers will find they cost about six times as much as the old ones to replace.

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Country profile: Ethiopia
03 Jun 08 |  Country profiles

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