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Fluorescent Lamps


Responding to the Fluorescent Lamp Price Crisis


Price rises for both fluorescent lamps and the cost of electricity have dramatically increased the financial burden of lighting. Journalist Nicola Martin discusses the best response to this crisis.


Phosphors, which are an essential component in producing light in fluorescent lamps, are rare earth elements (REE) that are largely taken for granted. A recent shortage of this essential component is having a huge impact on the price of fluorescent lamps. The price crisis couldn’t have come at a worse time for UK businesses, as they are also trying to contend with dramatic spikes in electricity prices.


China, which controls 95% of the world’s supply of REEs, has reduced its export supply in order to protect its diminishing reserves. This has had a dire impact on fluorescent lamp supply, forcing prices up. The major lighting retailers have this year announced price hikes of 35–70% for fluorescent lamps, with further price increases planned for Q4 and next year’s Q1. What’s more, the trend of rising fluorescent lamp prices is likely to continue. Chinese exports of REEs, including the sub-group that contains phosphor, fell 40% last year to 30,259 tonnes (according to the European Commission). Lobbying from the major Western powers has persuaded China to keep exports of REEs for 2011 on par with


54 www.a1lightingmagazine.com


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