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Energy Poverty: have we got the measure of it?

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  1. Energy Poverty: have we got the measure of it? Joy Clancy and Nthabi Mohlakoana, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands Margaret Matinga, Independent Consultant, Malawi

  2. Energy & development • Energy & development is generally confined to macro-level • At the micro-level growing recognition of the role that energy can play in combating poverty through: (i) improved health; (ii) increased productivity and new opportunities for additional income; (iii) reduced labour and time spent on household activities DSA Conference

  3. Energy & development • No MDG on energy – SDG on energy? • Increased micro-level interest due to SE4ALL • Also emergence of concept of energy poverty – as consequence of multiple dimensions of poverty • Energy also plays a part in those other dimensions. DSA Conference

  4. Energy poverty • No internationally agreed definition of energy poverty. • frequently cited definition: “the absence of sufficient choice in accessing adequate, affordable, reliable, high quality, safe and environmentally benign energy services to support economic and human development” DSA Conference

  5. Energy poverty • Strong link between energy poverty and chronic poverty • But not all households living in energy poverty are poor(QE2 lives in energy poverty!) • Poor households rely on biomass and their own muscles – kerosene & candles; wealthy households buy electricity and LPG (but also use biomass) • Poor households use less fuel than rich – less boiled water plus high pollution exposure & safety • Urban poor not necessarily better off than rural poor DSA Conference

  6. Measuring energy poverty • Per capita energy required to meet the basic energy needs of cooking, lighting and space heating • Energy or fuel poverty line calculate from an income or expenditure poverty measure; • Access to energy services); and • An energy access – consumption/use matrix: a two-dimensional measure that divides the population into groups based on their access to different energy types and quantity consumed useful energy per capita. DSA Conference

  7. Why do people live in energy poverty? • rural subsistence economy and the cost of modern energy carriers • weak delivery infrastructure and weak institutional mechanisms; and • energy–gender linkage DSA Conference

  8. Gender dimensions of energy poverty • Women & men have different roles – different energy demands • Women bear the main burden of biomass collection & use • Women’s invisible human energy crisis & time poverty needs modern clean energy • Women are general disadvantaged compared to men from same group: • Women have less access to credit etc. • Women & men have different knowledge • Women & men experience energy poverty differently – routes out are different DSA Conference

  9. How to end energy poverty • Improved availability of modern energy • Increased access through reduced financial poverty • It’s men who decide – even about cooking DSA Conference

  10. Decentralisation & ending energy poverty • Policy with multiple objectives and forms • de-concentration (sub-office of ministry) • Delegation (lower gov level has responsibility for implementation – accountability to gov) • Devolution (lower gov level has responsibility for implementation – accountability to constituents) DSA Conference

  11. Decentralisation & energy poverty • No general experience with energy at local level • Not sector where there is much decentralisation • Focus on supply-side (energy availability) rather than on demand-side (what people want – energy services) DSA Conference

  12. Decentralised energy planning: South Africa • Poor households guaranteed a basic quantity of energy (50kWh/month) • Municipalities have to:- identify who qualifies & where they live- raise their awareness about entitlement • No standard procedure • No ring-fenced funds DSA Conference

  13. Findings Mohlakoana & Matinga • Incomplete list • Staff don’t have time & don’t feel competent • Feel don’t have influence over policy • Only 40 out of 226 are able to implement the policy • Our conclusion: target setting without understanding the problem DSA Conference

  14. Concluding remarks • Energy poverty (or energy access) is high on the international agenda • Much effort is going into ‘how to measure’ • However, this is a futile effort if this is: • divorced from other energy sector transformations (eg tariff reform) • Neglects the situation at the local level in terms of staff motivation DSA Conference