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Electricity Should Not Be Treated As A Right, Argues LSE And Univ Of Chicago Study Based On Bihar
The results of a new EPIC study are covered in ETEnergyWorld.
Treating electricity as a right is detrimental to expanding access and the governments in low-income countries should rather treat it as a private good, according to a new study based on Bihar carried out by researchers at the International Growth Centre (IGC) at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), the University of Chicago, and Yale University.
“It is a widespread belief in developing countries that electricity is a right to be enjoyed by all citizens. In practice, this social norm regularly results in customers not paying their electricity bills, stealing electricity, and bribing bill collectors—behaviour the government often tolerates,” the study said.
The non-payment of bills leads to power utilities losing money on every unit of electricity sold, leading to large financial losses that limit their desire and ability to maintain infrastructure, provide reliable power and invest in expanding access to electricity because customers then receive poor energy supplies, they are even less likely to pay their bills.
In the case of Bihar, the research — led by Robin Burgess of LSE, Michael Greenstone of University of Chicago, Nicholas Ryan of Yale in collaboration with the Bihar state government—found that less than half of consumers of all income levels paid their electricity bills.