The bulbs have been procured with funding from the British Department for International Development (DfID) under what is called the Energy Efficient Lighting Programme (EELP) to reduce the evening peak demand for electricity from the national grid.
A statement from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment on Saturday said that two million bulbs, which have started arriving in the country, have been procured of which 1.3 million would be distributed nationwide for free to residential customers, small enterprises and public buildings.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Commercial and industrial customers will be required to purchase the remaining 700 000 energy saver bulbs at a subsidised price through designated retail outlets,Ã¢â‚¬Â said the statement.
With the two million bulbs, Escom is expected to save about 30 megawatts, according to government.
The launch the programme will be held at Malababa Health Centre in BlantyreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s populous Ndirande Township.
In an earlier interview, Secretary for Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Ben Botolo said it will take about three to four months (from January) to replace the ordinary bulbs.
The energy saver bulbs are of high quality with an extended operating life of 10 000 hours and a warranty of two years, according to government.
The move to distribute the bulbs was announced in the 2010/11 national budget in May 2010 and the contract on the procurement was awarded on February 7 2011.
Escom has always argued that using energy saver bulbs reduces the lighting loads and, apart from that, the customer benefits in terms of reduced bills as compared to ordinary bulbs.
An average energy saver bulb uses only 15 watts of power compared to 60 and 100 watts for an ordinary bulb.
According to Escom breakdown, for a domestic customer using a 15 watts energy saver bulbs with five lighting points, the amount of power consumed would be 75 watts. For ordinary bulbs with the same lighting points, a customer uses 300 watts. This means power saved by the used of energy saver bulbs for a single domestic customer is 225 watts.
Records show that one energy saver bulb has a life span of three years against three to four months for an incandescent bulb.