Aggregate demand for electricity in South Africa: An analysis using the bounds testing approach to cointegration
Electricity demand in South Africa has grown at a very rapid rate over the past decade. As part of reform initiatives to enhance long-term sustainability of the country's electricity industry, South Africa's authorities have in recent years sought to develop an electricity pricing framework that is cost reflective and forms the cornerstone of demand management schemes meant to foster changes in consumption behaviour and enhance efficiency in resource use. The effects of any pricing policy on aggregate electricity consumption will depend on a useful understanding of the factors that influence electricity demand, and the magnitude to which electricity demand responds to changes in such factors. In this context, this paper applies the bounds testing approach to cointegration within an autoregressive distributed lag framework to examine the aggregate demand for electricity in South Africa during the period 1960-2007. The results indicate that in the long run, income is the main determinant of electricity demand. With electricity prices having an insignificant effect on aggregate electricity demand, future pricing policies will need to ensure that electricity prices are cost reflective and enhance efficiency of electricity supply and use.
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