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Shedding Light: Understanding Energy Efficiency and Electricity Reliability in Developing Countries

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  • Eliana Carranza
  • Robyn Meeks

Abstract

Overloaded electrical systems are a major source of unreliable power (outages) in developing countries. Using a randomized saturation design, we estimate the impact of energy efficient lightbulbs on household electricity consumption and local electricity reliability. Receiving compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) significantly reduced household electricity consumption. Estimates not controlling for spillovers in take-up underestimate the impacts of the CFLs, as control households near the treated are likely to take-up CFLs themselves. Greater saturation of CFLs within a transformer leads to aggregate reliability impacts of two fewer days per month without electricity due to unplanned outages relative to pure controls. Increased electricity reliability permits households to consume more electricity services, suggesting that CFL treatment results in technological externalities. The spillovers in take-up and technological externalities that we document may provide an additional explanation for the gap between empirical and engineering estimates of the impacts of energy efficient technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Eliana Carranza & Robyn Meeks, 2016. "Shedding Light: Understanding Energy Efficiency and Electricity Reliability in Developing Countries," Natural Field Experiments 00569, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00569
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Pfaff & Juan Robalino, 2017. "Spillovers from Conservation Programs," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 299-315, October.
    2. Grogan, Louise, 2018. "Time use impacts of rural electrification: Longitudinal evidence from Guatemala," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 304-317.

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