Better energy services , better energy sectors — and links with the poor

Abstract

EN ER G Y ER V IC ES FO R TH E W O R LD ‘S PO O R Energy policies have a key role in the development and growth strategies of governments. Ready access to reliable, reasonably priced energy—particularly by industry, agriculture, and the commercial sector—is an important catalyst for growth. For households, better energy services can boost welfare—for example, by reducing time spent collecting biomass fuels for cooking or heating purposes or by boosting the productivity and income of household businesses. Accordingly, in many developing countries we see projects aimed at increasing the capacity of the modern energy sector to contribute to productivity, growth, and economic opportunity alongside projects that are more narrowly focused on expanding access to improved energy services for low-income or geographically dispersed communities. Traditionally, projects of both kinds relied heavily on direct investments in system expansion. More recently, governments have focused more attention on the institutional framework that supports investments and service delivery—and moved to reform this framework in the hope of enhancing operational efficiency and more efficiently mobilizing finance for system expansion and improvement. To understand how these interventions affect the poor, we need some appreciation of the links between improved access to energy services—or better-quality services—at the household and community level and household welfare. We need some means of assessing the relative roles of growth-oriented sectoral policies and access-oriented policies in improving the welfare of the poorest. And we need some means of gauging the effect on the poor of a shift from policies centered on investment to policies centered on reform. In general, there is broad agreement, supported by a degree of anecdotal evidence, on the direction of links between energy and poverty alleviation. But hard data on the absolute or relative magnitude of the welfare impacts of different kinds of sectoral interventions are in very short supply. Accordingly, this chapter is restricted to discussing broad directions, rather than precise measures, of impact. Similarly, while arguments about the likely effect of sectoral reform on the poor are reasonably well developed, relatively little evidence is yet available to cast light on these arguments or on the aspects of reform most likely to make a difference to the poor. Redressing this data gap is a clear Message from the editors Better energy services, better energy sectors—and links with the poor

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Price2000BetterES, title={Better energy services , better energy sectors — and links with the poor}, author={Catherine Waddams Price}, year={2000} }