Changing energy profiles and consumption patterns following electrification in five rural villages, South Africa

Madubansi, M. and Shackleton, C.M. (2006) Changing energy profiles and consumption patterns following electrification in five rural villages, South Africa. Energy Policy, 34 (18). pp. 4081-4092. ISSN 0301-4215



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Following the democratic transition in South Africa in the early 1990s the government has implemented a widespread electrification programme, as well as introduced a free basic electricity allowance as a means of poverty alleviation. Yet there are limited longitudinal studies on the impacts of the introduction of electricity on the patterns of household energy use, and even more so in the neglected rural sector. This study reports on the patterns of household energy use in five rural settlements in 1991 and again in 2002. Results indicate a changing pattern of energy use for lighting and powering entertainment appliances, more specifically from dry-cell batteries and paraffin to electricity. Yet for thermal needs, most notably cooking, fuelwood has remained the most widespread fuel, and the amount used per month has not changed, despite increasing scarcity of wood in the local environment. There has been an increase in the proportion of households purchasing fuelwood as opposed to collecting their own. Overall, the mean total number of fuel types used per household has increased, indicating that electricity is simply viewed as an additional energy, rather than an alternative. Yet, electricity accounted for approximately 60% of expenditure on energy sources in 2002, despite the government's policy of a free basic allowance of 5–6 kWh per month. This has implications for energy supply costing, as well as the poverty alleviation dimensions of the whole programme.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Domestic energy; fuelwood; electricity; poverty alleviation; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Environmental Science
ID Code:420
Deposited On:04 Aug 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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