Conceptualizing urban household energy use: Climbing the "Energy Services Ladder"
This article begins by defining energy services and identifying how they differ according to sector, urban and rural areas, and direct and indirect uses. It then investigates household energy services divided into three classes: lower income, middle income, and upper income. It finds that the primary energy technologies involved with low-income households involve a greater number of fuels and carriers, ranging from dung and fuelwood to liquefied petroleum gas and charcoal, but a fewer number of services. Middle-income households throughout the world tend to rely on electricity and natural gas, followed by coal, liquefied petroleum gas, and kerosene. These homes utilize energy to produce a much broader range services. The upper class or rich have access to the same energy fuels, carriers, and technologies as middle-income homes and families, but consume more energy (and more high luxury items). The study highlights how focusing on energy services reorients the direction of energy policy interventions, that energy services are neither uniform nor innate, and by noting exciting areas of potential research.
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