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Measuring Energy Poverty: Focusing on What Matters

  • Patrick Nussbaumer, Morgan Bazilian, Vijay Modi and Kandeh K. Yumkella
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    The provision of modern energy services is recognised as a critical foundation for sustainable development, and is central to the everyday lives of people. Effective policies to dramatically expand modern energy access need to be grounded in a robust information-base. Metrics that can be used for comparative purposes and to track progress towards targets therefore represent an essential support tool. This paper reviews the relevant literature, and discusses the adequacy and applicability of existing instruments to measure energy poverty. Drawing on those insights, it proposes a new composite index to measure energy poverty. Both the associated methodology and initial results for several African countries are discussed. Whereas most existing indicators and composite indices focus on assessing the access to energy, or the degree of development related to energy, our new index – the Multidimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI) – focuses on the deprivation of access to modern energy services. It captures both the incidence and intensity of energy poverty, and provides a new tool to support policymaking.

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    File URL: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/ophiwp/OPHIWP042.pdf
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    Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series OPHI Working Papers with number ophiwp042.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp042
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    1. Martinez-Alier, Joan & Munda, Giuseppe & O'Neill, John, 1998. "Weak comparability of values as a foundation for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 277-286, September.
    2. Mirza, Bilal & Szirmai, Adam, 2010. "Towards a new measurement of energy poverty: A cross-community analysis of rural Pakistan," MERIT Working Papers 024, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Vera, Ivan & Langlois, Lucille, 2007. "Energy indicators for sustainable development," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 875-882.
    4. Ebert, Udo & Welsch, Heinz, 2004. "Meaningful environmental indices: a social choice approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 270-283, March.
    5. Morse, Stephen, 2003. "For better or for worse, till the human development index do us part?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 281-296, June.
    6. Zhou, P. & Ang, B.W. & Poh, K.L., 2006. "Comparing aggregating methods for constructing the composite environmental index: An objective measure," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 305-311, September.
    7. Bazilian, Morgan & Sagar, Ambuj & Detchon, Reid & Yumkella, Kandeh, 2010. "More heat and light," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5409-5412, October.
    8. Michael Freudenberg, 2003. "Composite Indicators of Country Performance: A Critical Assessment," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2003/16, OECD Publishing.
    9. Andrew Sharpe, 2004. "Literature Review of Frameworks for Macro-indicators," CSLS Research Reports 2004-03, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
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