Government ends energy bulbs scheme

Power companies will no longer be able to mail out millions of energy-saving lightbulbs to meet their targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions from homes.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has announced changes to the government scheme requiring energy suppliers to cut emissions from homes, including an end to the direct mail-out of low-energy lightbulbs by 1 January 2010.

The changes to the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert) and the introduction of the new Community Energy Saving Programme will bring the total investment in energy efficiency to an estimated £3.5bn by the end of 2012 according to Decc.

A 20 per cent increase in the target for emissions reductions to 185 million tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to the annual emissions of about one million homes - will require an extra £500m investment by energy companies.

Moves by power firms to meet much of their obligations under the Cert scheme by distributing lightbulbs had previously been attacked by the Local Government Association as "outrageous".

Council leaders said supplying free energy lightbulbs only saved families around £3 a year, and the focus should be on more insulation of lofts and walls.

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