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Small-scale private service providers of water supply and electricity : a review of incidence, structure, pricing, and operating characteristics

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  • Kariuki, Mukami
  • Schwartz, Jordan

Abstract

This paper summarizes the key findings and conclusions of a literature review of small-scale private service providers (SPSPs) of water supply and electricity conducted over a six-month period in 2003. It draws on more than 400 documents-including journals, articles, reports, case studies and project reports-which have been disaggregated and referenced in a publicly available database. SPSPs appear most prevalent in countries with low coverage levels, ineffective public utilities that provide inadequate or partial services, and remote, difficult-to-access regions. SPSPs are especially prevalent in post-conflict countries and others with weak or failed states. Of the countries for which evidence of SPSPs was available, at least half fall into this category. SPSP provision of networked services appears to be significantly higher for electricity than for water supply. Most SPSPs identified through the literature are single-purpose entities established for the express purpose of delivering water supply or electricity. SPSPs take a variety of organizational forms, both for-profit and non-profit. As such, they are established for a variety of reasons, including: to meet consumer demand, respond to crises, or as part of larger business ventures. The technology used may extend upstream from distribution services to the means for producing or generating water supply or electricity, so capital needs vary accordingly. The majority of SPSPs have fewer than 50 employees and usually fewer than 10. A lack of affordable financing is a constraint for most SPSPs, which fund investments mainly through their own earnings and savings, loans from friends and family, and money borrowed from formal and informal lenders.

Suggested Citation

  • Kariuki, Mukami & Schwartz, Jordan, 2005. "Small-scale private service providers of water supply and electricity : a review of incidence, structure, pricing, and operating characteristics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3727, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3727
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cherunya, Pauline C. & Ahlborg, Helene & Truffer, Bernhard, 2020. "Anchoring innovations in oscillating domestic spaces: Why sanitation service offerings fail in informal settlements," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(1).
    2. Akosua Sarpong Boakye-Ansah & Klaas Schwartz & Margreet Zwarteveen, 2019. "From Rowdy Cartels to Organized Ones? The Transfer of Power in Urban Water Supply in Kenya," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 31(5), pages 1246-1262, December.
    3. Estache, Antonio & Goicoechea, Ana & Trujillo, Lourdes, 2009. "Utilities reforms and corruption in developing countries," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 191-202, June.
    4. James Leigland & William Butterfield, 2006. "Reform, Private Capital Needed to Develop Infrastructure in Africa : Problems and Prospects for Private Participation," World Bank Publications - Reports 10738, The World Bank Group.
    5. Meera Mehta & Kameel Virjee & Serah Njoroge, 2007. "Helping a New Breed of Private Water Operators Access Infrastructure Finance : Microfinance for Community Water Schemes in Kenya," World Bank Publications - Reports 10690, The World Bank Group.
    6. Holstenkamp, Lars, 2019. "What do we know about cooperative sustainable electrification in the global South? A synthesis of the literature and refined social-ecological systems framework," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 307-320.
    7. Philippe Marin, 2009. "Public-Private Partnerships for Urban Water Utilities : A Review of Experiences in Developing Countries," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 2703.
    8. Anastasia Angueletou-Marteau, 2010. "Les petits opérateurs privés dans la chaîne d'approvisionnement d'eau potable dans les petites et moyennes villes indiennes," Post-Print halshs-00527134, HAL.

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