Lighting Phase Out

changing lightbulb

Lighting Phase Out

It is estimated that the phase out of incandescent light bulbs, which commenced in 2009 in Australia (along with state based energy efficiency obligations schemes) is saving around 2.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity each year.  This saving is equivalent to the total annual electricity consumption of 150,000 homes. The average household is estimated to be saving 300 kWh and $75 per annum.

Which incandescent light bulbs have been phased out?

Any light bulbs that have an efficiency level of less than 15 lumens per watt (lm/W). Lumens (lm) are a measure of light output and watts (W) are a measure of energy input.

The traditional pear-shaped incandescent bulbs (General Lighting Service lamps) are the least efficient – these bulbs waste 90 per cent of the energy they use, mainly as heat. They were phased out first, with an import restriction that applied from 1 February 2009, followed by a sales restriction from November 2009. The phase out has since expanded to other types of incandescent lamps.  See the phase out timetable below for more details.

Phase Out timetable

Lamp type

Sales restriction from

Tungsten filament incandescent general lighting service (GLS) light bulbs

Extra low voltage (ELV) halogen non-reflector lamps

Self-ballasted compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)


1 November 2009




Greater than 40W candle, fancy round and decorative lamps

ELV halogen reflector lamps (the average measured wattage shall be no more than 37W – effective 14 April 2012)


1 October 2010



Mains voltage halogen (MVH) non-reflector lamps (until 30 September 2016, when tested in accordance with AS/NZS 4934.1, MVH non-reflector lamps may comply with a reduced initial efficacy requirement)


1 January 2011



Greater than 25W candle fancy round and decorative lamps


1 October 2012


Energy Efficient Alternatives (CFLs and LEDs)

Energy efficient alternatives

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs can be used in the vast majority of fittings that take common incandescent bulbs.

CFLs use the same technology as linear fluorescent tubes – common in our schools, hospitals and workplaces – but are designed for use in homes. Not only do CFLs only use around 20 per cent of the energy to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent light bulb, but they last between four and 10 times longer.

The light globe conversion table compares the light output of equivalent traditional incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and mains voltage halogen lamps.

Mains voltage halogen lamps are similar in appearance to traditional incandescent light bulbs and are suitable alternatives for light fixtures that require functions such as dimming and touch or sensor control, however they are not as energy efficient as CFLs.

Light emitting diode (LED) lighting is a rapidly developing technology that is already offering useful alternatives to some traditional lighting technologies. Good quality LEDs can provide excellent lighting in a range of applications. However, tests on some LED products found in the marketplace indicate that there is significant variation in product quality. Refer to Lighting Council Australia's LED Buyers Guide for information on selecting quality and efficient products.