Increasing access and quality of energy services in developing countries

This research area addresses the linked questions of how to build demand for reliable electricity services and how to incentivize better service from the supply side. The IGC is especially interested in research that focuses on improving grid services. We are also interested in examining cost-effective off-grid solutions including mini-grids for rural households and firms, including how these measures can support longer-term solutions and how uptake of electricity can be encouraged once connections are established. In particular, we support research that explores ways to incentivize industrial and domestic consumers to pay for the energy they use, in order to help generate revenues for improving quality and expanding access. Understanding pricing and the willingness to pay for reliable access is critical here. We want to examine how energy policy can be designed to reduce non-payment and to prevent electricity losses and theft. This may include strategies to shift social norms and expectations around payment, either with carrots (service quality, easier payment modes) or sticks (disconnections).