This project will investigate whether poorer households suffer a disproportionately large share of the load-shedding burden. We hypothesize that a more equitable distribution of the load-shedding burden can increase access to electricity among the poorest residents of developing country in two different ways. First, by directly increasing the number of hours during which poor households that have already paid the fixed costs of connecting to the grid have access to electricity. Second, by increasing the number of poor households that find it worthwhile to pay the connection charges required for an electricity connection. Throughout our analysis, we will carefully consider and investigate the role of electricity theft. Electricity theft is important to our analysis because it is more common in poor areas (Smith 2004) and therefore may be a contributing cause to higher rates of load-shedding in poor neighborhoods. We may use one of several different approaches to estimate theft.
Tomer Mangoubi is a Ph.D. student studying business economics and public policy in the Wharton School.