Bangladesh started distributing compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs to consumers on Saturday in exchange for old incandescent bulbs to help ease chronic electricity shortages.
The power ministry says the operation could save up to 500 megawatts a day. Only about a third of 150 million residents of Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest countries, has access to electricity.
"The government decided to distribute about 28 million CFL bulbs under a World Bank-aided $43 million project," said Mohammad Afrazur Rahman, spokesman of the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources.
City residents with power are subject to cuts every other hour, while those in rural areas may go without for much longer.
In the operation's first phase, 5.5 million bulbs are to be handed out to 9 million customers in 27 districts, including the capital.
Officials said they would store the old bulbs to claim clean development management funds from developed nations. They would later be destroyed.