Study on South African free basic electricity allowance reveals shift in demand

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PESD affiliates Stephen Davis, Alison Hughes, and Kate Louw publish findings on the impacts of the free basic electricity program in two small rural towns in South Africa.

The Free Basic Electricity Subsidy in South Africa entitles all households to 50 kWh of electricity every month. This paper analyzes household energy demand in two villages in South Africa before and after the implementation of the subsidy, analyzing how demand and consumption patterns have shifted. In one village, demand increased dramatically, largely due to the purchase of electric cooking appliances, whereas in the other there was little affect on demand.