Increasing rural electrification through connection campaigns


Blankenship, Brian, et al. 2020. “Increasing rural electrification through connection campaigns”. Energy Policy 139 (0301-4215) : 111291.


To reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of universal household electrification by 2030, developing countries are spending billions of dollars to expand access. India, for example, recently undertook an audacious expansion plan which aimed to electrify every household by December 2018. However, there is little academic study of strategies to increase electrification rates. We argue that significant transaction costs inhibit household applications for connections. As evidence, we report the results of a randomized controlled trial (in 200 communities and 2000 households) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, with a treatment consisting of an informational campaign about the costs and procedure of applying. We found that households exposed to the campaign were three times as likely to apply for a connection. Yet actual connection rates remained unchanged. The results suggest that transaction costs are an important barrier to electrification, but limited capacity and incentive to expand connections are equally important.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 05/11/2020