Measuring energy poverty: an application to urban households of india

Nathan, Hippu Salk Kristle (1); Hari, Lakshmikanth (2) (2018). 'Measuring Energy Poverty: An Application to Urban Households of India' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


Measurement of energy poverty has been a missing priority in energy research. There has been a lack of consensus on whether to consider energy as a resource or capacity, output or outcome, and quantity or service. The paper outlines the three approaches in literature to assess energy poverty: (i) economic, (ii) engineering, and (iii) access-based. It criticizes the economic approach by arguing against the notion of income poverty line, which suffers from the arbitrariness of categorizing people as poor and non-poor. Under the engineering approach, the study develops a framework of assessing energy poverty by examining availability, affordability, and acceptability of energy services, devices, and carriers. This framework captures the real life situation, but suffers from the limitations of data availability. The study finds the access-based approach to be most suitable to the conventional notion of poverty and proposes a novel method by introducing a transitional group between the energy poor and energy non-poor. Following economic measure of poverty, it calculates the incidence, depth, and severity of urban energy poverty in different states of India. In contrast to the conventional measures, it argues for depth and severity of poverty to be computed only for the energy poor as complement indicators to the poverty incidence, rather than as substitutes.

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