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Beyond Free Electricity: The Cost of Electric Cooking in Poor Households and a Market-friendly Alternative
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Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Working Paper #42

July 2005

The South African government is introducing a poverty-reduction policy that will supply households with a monthly 50kWh "Free Basic Electricity (FBE)" subsidy. We show that FBE distorts the energy choices of poor households by encouraging them to cook with electricity, whereas alternatives such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can deliver a similar cooking service at a much lower cost to society.

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