An Open Letter To Mr David Neilands Of SuperCentre


‘Make the Difference – Pledge to save Energy’

Sainsbury’s in the UK currently have a campaign supported by full page colour ‘ads’ in publications like The Times, where they are giving away 1 million Philips Energy Saving light bulbs.

You can see some of the media coverage simply by entering Sainsbury’s Make the Difference into GOOGLE news search. (BBC article: Sainsbury’s In Lightbulb Giveaway)

In the current climate of very high electricity costs it just seems like such a simple way to encourage people to save energy. I am still surprised by the number of buildings I see (including Government ones) who have chosen not to purchase or replace traditional light bulbs with lower energy alternatives.

I am not suggesting SuperCentre just distributes free lower energy bubs, but is there a way it could be aligned with a special promotion, where is a customer spends say $100 they get a LEB free?

I thought the Sainsbury’s idea was an excellent example of a responsible corporate response to a mounting concern over the cost of living. I know you and SuperCentre think along the same lines and I hope that you may consider such an initiative.

Best Regards,

Adrian Loveridge

Peach and Quiet
25 October 2007


Filed under Barbados, Environment

28 responses to “An Open Letter To Mr David Neilands Of SuperCentre

  1. Anon...

    We have the low energy bulbs here at home but I find the light to be very harsh, any tips?

  2. Lady Anon

    I also changed all my bulbs to low energy bulbs, and believe it or not, the next month the electricity bill was higher than the month before.

    No…I am not going to change it back. Will monitor it and see.

    Adrian…not sure if SuperCentre or any hardware will take you up on your offer. I saw recently that Exclusive lighting was offering 1 bulb free with the purchase of a lamp, but that was also for a limited time.

    We will live in hope.

  3. skines

    Sounds good but be careful that we don’t substitute one problem for another.
    Those bulbs contain mercury and amalgam, which is damaging to the environment and hardly ecofriendy. We should research the one we are bringing in and also educate the
    public in regards to their use, disposal handling, and clean up in case of breakage.
    These are not as safe as the old incandescent bulbs. My own personal bias is that they distort colours

  4. Wishing in Vain

    It may happen after Neal and Massey buys BS and T and they decide to give back to the sharholders the part of the bid price that they did not get!!!
    Or just to build goodwill to the Barbadians!!

  5. Hants

    I strongly recommend that you go on the Internet and see if the Brand you are buying is safe.

    The base of one of these compact fluorescent bulbs caught fire in my house. Luckily I was able to smother the flame with a towel and averted disaster.

    I decided to remove and dispose of all these bulbs and replace them with regular Incandescent bulbs.

    I will try them again when I am satisfied that they are as safe as the Incandescent bulbs.I hope they will become safe.

  6. peltdownman

    There’s probably more in the Sainsbury’s offer than meets the eye. Thes bulbs are produced by the gazillion in the Far East, and as the writers above have indicated, they have received some negative publicity surrounding their safe disposal. Probably, therefore, Phillips is offering these for a promotion to both get surplus inventory off their hands, and to get people to try them. The rest of it is just marketing spin.

  7. Hants

    My concern is that while energy saving is critical to our future, safety is also as important.

    Unfortunately for me I had a bad experience and have chosen what I am comfortable with.

    No compact Fluorescents in my house until I am truly satisfied they are as safe as Incandescent bulbs.

  8. John

    Last night I heard on TV that the Cuban Government gave Jamaica a million such light bulbs for free.

    An enterprising government minister approved $167 million Jamaican dollars in distribution costs incurred by a company set up just to distribute them.

    No doubt he will say he was only seeking to expedite their distribution to benefit from the savings in the fuel bill of the country.

    The contractor and auditor generals are investigating.

    Sounds like something that would happen in BIM……

  9. Wishing in Vain

    It is reported on page 12 of the Nation today that the figure stated was Jam$ 276.5 Million to distribute 4 million free cuban light bulbs.
    Sounds almost like the same as VECO the PRISON, 3 S DANOS ROAD WORKS PROJECT, the HARDWOOD HOLDINGS.

  10. Halu Full or Half Empty

    I’m going to have to side with the rest of the guys on this one….

    I have replaced one of my light bulbs in my apartment (Bedroom to be exact) and the result I got was that it’s very dull and when I try to read at night it hurts my eyes so I’m just waiting on the bill to see weather I should just switch back and save my already poor eye sight.

    I dont think they are safe.

  11. james

    The BBC article should have been entitled, “Sainsburys in Lightbulb Public Relations greenwash”. Whilst it’s an eyecatching idea, there’s many more, simpler things that need to be done first and it’s debateable how genuinely effective this sort of thing is. Setting up good recycling facilites at SuperCentres, using recyclable plastic bags etc. would be a good start.

  12. John


    …. West Indian Politicians!!

    A calypso exists on them although the words escape me.

  13. Crusty

    On October 25th, 2007 at 1:03 pm, Anon… said

    We have the low energy bulbs here at home but I find the light to be very harsh, any tips?

    On October 25th, 2007 at 1:12 pm, skines said:

    Those bulbs contain mercury and amalgam, which is damaging to the environment and hardly ecofriendy. We should research the one we are bringing in and also educate the public in regards to their use, disposal handling, and clean up in case of breakage.


    If you mean the strong white colour is hash then you do have choices. Colour is measured in degrees Kelvin and the so-called “daylight” or “cool white” bulbs have a colour around 6400 degrees Kelvin. Other bulbs are called “warm white” and have a colour in the range 2700 to 3500 degrees Kelvin. Some boxes have markings on them to indicate the colour temperature. Most vendors in Barbados are supplying the 6400 degree Kelvin bulbs so it would be worthwhile to ask at each shop until they come to understand there are other choices available and they might choose to supply them.

    For the new visitors to this site, the mercury issue has been explored previously. The amount of mercury (less than 5 milligrams) in a bulb is less than that contained in one dental filling and is in a MUCH less dangerous place (i.e. not in your mouth). There is no amalgam in a compact fluorescent bulb.

    See previous blog:

  14. Adrian Loveridge

    Many thanks for all the constructive comments.

    Had a really nice response from David Neilands and as he pointed out, they (at SuperCentre) are trying out energy saving tubes at one of their locations.

    They are currently working on another initiative that hopefully will make an environmental difference. Its not official yet, so I do not want to steal their thunder.

    What does disturb me is that their proposed project attracts a 60% import duty.

    We all must be more effective in lobbying our political leaders to eradicate ALL taxes and duties on environmentally friendly solutions.
    To me, at least, it sounds totally counter productive for Government to extract taxes and duties on solutions that will ultimately save them (us) money.

    I still believe the Sainsbury’s idea was a good one irrespective of any competitive advantage it could bring them.

    Perhaps, that ever helpful Mr Stephen Worme at Light and Power could quickly calculate what the energy saving cost would be if every household/business could reduce their electricity consumption by just 50 watts for six hours per day.

  15. John

    Customs could do the math anyway they like but 60% of zero is zero.

    …. suppose they could claim the light bulbs were underinvoiced and point to the wicked capitalists seeking to exploit the system but Owen could tell them the light bulbs are for free and the invoice is for true!!

  16. Adrian Loveridge

    I am not sure what duty the light bulbs attract but the 60% mentioned refers to another project SuperCentre are working on.

    From my thinking, ANYTHING environmentally friendly and/or energy saving should attract NO taxes or duties at all.
    That includes VAT.

    If Government is serious it must lead from the front and set clear examples.

  17. Crusty

    Don’t know if Mr. Stephen Worme reads this blog so perhaps these numbers will help:

    From my October 2007 Light and Power bill, the cost of electricity is an average of BD $ 0.476 per kilowatt-hour.

    50 watts = 0.050 kilowatts

    So 6 hours of burning a 50 watt bulb = 0.050 x 6 = 0.300 kilowatt-hours.

    The cost of this is 0.300 x $0.476 = $0.143

    That’s just over 14 cents for a 6 hour usage.

    Assuming that happens each day of the year then the savings from avoiding this consumption would be

    $0.143 x 365 = $ 52.19 per year

    And for the expected 8 year life of a compact fluorescent bulb, that amounts to

    $0.143 x 365 x 8 = $ 417.56 over the lifetime of the bulb

    which is a considerable saving for most people.
    Compact fluorescent bulbs each cost between BD $ 6 and $ 15 when purchased locally.

    I have read there are some 90,000 delivery points for the Barbados Postal Service (ref:, so if we assume that each location made the switch for just one light bulb then the ANNUAL costs avoided would be

    $0.143 x 365 x 90,000 = $ 77,220.00


    For those who are interested, the Venezuelan government has recently started giving each household ONE compact fluorescent bulb. Many people use these above their front door. The bulb chosen is a cool white colour, clearly different from the colour of an incandescent bulb, which is more yellow. In the hills around Caracas, one can see where the gift has been used and where it has not.

    The Venezuelan government has a direct interest in reducing consumption because it recently nationalised the electrical generation industry.

    Since Barbados Light and Power is a private company in a regulated monopoly, it is unclear how much incentive there is to reduce consumption. Profit for most such regulated monopolies is a percentage of production/consumption.

  18. Anonymous

    My experience is that these bulbs have short working lives.
    I pay a small fortune for them(compared to normal bulbs)
    -expecting them to be a long-term “investment” (at that cost they ARE)-
    only to have them die on me, in 6 mths. to a year!

    They are NOT cost effective, and until the technology is improved, they’re pretty much a waste of my money, and of my time!

    First one I ever bought at Big B cost me $46,I kid you not – it didn’t last a year!!
    Oh well, that $46 down the drain.

    The next lot I tried, cost around $20, here we go again.
    Only to discover they still didn’t last more than a year,most of them.

    Strangely, the ones I was using as outside security lights, on the weather side of the house, lasted longest(2-3 years) and I always wondered if that was because they were being cooled more than those used on the non-weather side of the house.

    Now they’re down to about $10 each,maybe less, but they’re still dodgy compared to normal incandescent bulbs, which last so long you can almost bequeath them to your grandchildren.

  19. peltdownman

    You are jumping the gun on those duties. It is possible that what S.C. want to import can be manufactured locally, hence the duties. From what I understand, if the local manufacturer(s) is unable or unwilling to participate, then S.C. can apply for a removal of the duty for that shipment. They will probably get it.

  20. anon

    Noted below is an extract from the Minister of Finance’s economic statement delivered in march of this year. Readers should take note of the $5,000 deduction allowed when computing your income tax liability

    Green Homes: The Ministry of Energy and Environment will establish a Green House checklist that is appropriate to small tropical islands like Barbados. This will include a number of greening, recycling and energy conservation features, e.g. low flow toilets, water storage, solar water heating, fluorescent lighting, passive ventilation and cooling, alternative energy use. Green House certification will be provided by the Town Planning Department as part of the development application process. The
    householder will be allowed to deduct BDS$5,000 for Income Tax for the expenses incurred in greening his or her home.

  21. anon

    The extract from the minister’s statement starts from “Green” and ends at “home”.

  22. Anonymous

    Barbados is an absolute shining light in two specific areas of human aspiration.
    1. We are at the forefront of solar water-heater technology,and an example for the world to follow.
    2. We are also a seriously-non-smoking nation, thanks to Dr.Gale and his No Smoking campaign over the last 2-3 decades.

    We can go further. Green things are usually not that difficult, just take a lil brain,education, effort and willingness to get it done.
    We already paint about 50% of our roofs (“house-top” to you) WHITE – thus reducing interior thermals considerably.

    It amazed me to see Government clad the roof of the new school near Sharon, with RED(traditional,very important!) roofing material, in order to make upper level classrooms unbearably hot for students during May-Oct. afternoon classes.

    I thought we had long ago learned that WHITE-duuhh is the colour for roofs, not red, not green. If you need a colour, use a PALE sky-blue, PALE green…something close to white(that best-of-all colour for roofs).

    RAINWATER floods off our roofs, not one drop of it being stored for gardening during drier times, or to flush toilets.
    God’s abundance wasted, to go flood elsewhere where not needed. We need to get our thinking caps on fer real, and start some more shining examples to the world.

    St.Gabriel’s School does more than their fair share of educating their yutes along these common-sense “green” lines, but they are just one school. The others pick up what they can, in de ZR van on the way to red-roofed school, and so we progress slowly in that broader sector of the public, where interest in such things is somehow “someone ELSE’s problem, not ours!”

  23. Crusty

    Correction to my previous post due to finger trouble with the calculator:

    … so if we assume that each location made the switch for just one light bulb then the ANNUAL costs avoided would be

    $0.143 x 365 x 90,000 = $ 4,697,550.00

    Don’t know how I got the previous, incorrect number.

  24. Shades of the Phanton Coffee Grinder- Dec 2006

    I recollect making the following submission last December on this same subject:

    “My experience with compact fluorescent bulbs has been disappointing. They have never lasted ten times as long as an ordinary bulb, perhaps 50% more. (I mark the date of installation on it)

    And they cost around ten times as much.

    The light a 20 watt fluoresent gives claims to provide as much light as a 100 watt bulb, but I find it dim and deathly. Fine for a funeral parlor, but no good for reading.

    So if I can put up with the dimness, I am using 1/5 the power for ten times the price, for say twice as long, to be generous. I am no mathematician, but if I pay out $20 for a bulb lasting a year, and would otherwise pay for 2 bulbs at $2 each= $4, I have got to save $16 on the electricity to break even. For lousy light I can’t read by.

    I still need to be convinced!”

    Plus ca change….

  25. New on the Blog

    A comment if I may on these twisty twirly new type of light bulbs; They are awful! They give off a terrible glare and as another writer stated, the light bill went up instead of down! Also they don’t last as long as a regular light bulb! Where is the savings in that?
    Maybe it was a marketing plot all along to get us to purchase enough of these so called energy saving bulbs, the company makes it’s money and we are stuck with the bill.
    Where have we all heard this before?
    Seems to me it’s all about the money and not the consumer.
    Please don’t get me wrong, I am all for progress and saving money, especially my electric bill, but truly, please, whoever designed this new light bulb, go back to the drawing board and make it more affordable to purchase, more appealing for our eyes when we switch it on, and make it use up less energy not more to run it.
    For the ladies, don’t look in a mirror with one of these light bulbs on, you won’t know who is looking back at you as this light bulb is extremely uncomplimentary. It will give you a real fright!

  26. cherry2enpowered

    In my experience the fluorescent tubes are better. The light was great was reading. Those twisty coils ones are a waste of time. Right now at home I have one with 3 prongs and have never had a problem with it.

  27. Adrian – thank you for engaging and encouraging the businessman.

  28. Adrian Loveridge


    Thank You.

    I see one of the biggest single challenges to any Government currently, is the cost of living.

    I honestly do not know how the average Barbadian on a fixed income or pensioner manages.