Energy Access for the Urban Poor: Peruvian Case Study
Liberalising energy markets is not always the best solution for all the social sectors, the marginal social sectors. Many plans and official programmes have been proposed with a clear goal of reducing poverty levels. Electrification is included as a component and in some cases is relegated to the least priority level. The government is trying to increase the rate of electrification to 50%, without considering if people live in rural or peri urban areas. It is important to identify which are the people that really need this service. On the other hand, the new focus of combat against poverty gives a more realistic and appropriate setting in order to widen the access to energy.
In this setting, many state organisations have been chosen to put in practice these policies in a quick effort to reach goals before the end of president Fujimori's second term. The strong pressure for investing millions dollars adequately in short time is probably worse than choosing bad goals.
There is not a particular obstacle that will discourage companies from providing electricity to supply peri urban areas, but any level of costs (primary investment and others operation costs) will not be covered with monthly incomes of US$ 30 per person. In the meantime, urban poor people use kerosene and waste fuels (like wood, leafs, papers, cartons, etc.). LPG, which can now be found anywhere, especially in small businesses, is reserved for people with greater and more stable salaries, and electricity is used only for domestic lightning. Statistical evidence was found that the poorest people's decisions are conditioned by the frequency by which they earn money and not necessarily the salary level.
Small and micro enterprises that depend on electricity for their process, are considering their monthly expenditure in electricity as a minor problem. Awareness campaigns on rational use of energy should not have short terms goals because changes in people's conduct are a medium term matter. In this sense energy saving projects (PAE ) play a very important role.
Sanchez Campos, T.; Homero Miranda Coll-Cardenas; del Pilar Pinto de la Sota Diaz, M.; Talavera Campbell, K. Energy Access for the Urban Poor: Peruvian Case Study. (1999) 46 pp.