Effect of Electricity Price Reform on Households’ Electricity Consumption in Urban Ethiopia
This paper studies the effect of Ethiopia's revised tariff on urban household electricity consumption and alternative fuel expenditure.
Until recently, the price of electricity in Ethiopia was among the lowest in the world. Such low prices have contributed to a substantial financial deficit for the government-owned electric utility and led to a degradation in the quality of electricity services delivered to customers. In December 2018, the utility increased the electricity tariff to help to finance improvements in the quality of electricity services. This paper studies the effect of the revised tariff on urban household electricity consumption and alternative fuel expenditure. The study relied on two rounds of household survey data and six years of electricity consumption data from the utility company. The study finds that prepaid customers reduced their electricity consumption by about 22 kWh per month in the post-tariff-adjustment periods, equivalent to about 10 percent of electricity expenditure and 14 percent of daily consumption. In the overall sample, however, consumption slightly increased over time. These results imply that the price elasticity of demand for electricity in urban Ethiopia is highly inelastic. Moreover, households did not shift substantially toward the use of alternative fuels. The findings indicate that governments and utilities in settings where electricity is priced well below cost-covering levels may be able to increase revenues and improve their balance sheets with relatively modest effects on households’ electricity consumption, though effects from more substantial tariff hikes should be examined.
Abebe D. Beyene
Environment and Climate Research Center, Policy Studies Institute
Addis Ababa University
Tensay Hadush Meles
University College Dublin
Subhrendu K. Pattanayak
On the Issues — Jan 19, 2024
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A biweekly newsletter connecting global current events, pressing climate and energy policy news, and economics research from RFF scholars. This week: US emissions trends, city-splitting highways, and more.
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2023 Year in Review: Energy and Environmental Policy, with Karen Palmer and Joseph Majkut
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Working Paper — Dec 18, 2023
Widening the Scope: The Direct and Spillover Effects of Nudging Water Efficiency in the Presence of Other Behavioral Interventions
This working paper describes the results of a social information campaign designed to nudge water conservation.