Drivers of Household Appliance Usage: Evidence From Rural India
Energy for Sustainable Development, 2020
45 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 19, 2020
Electricity access and appliance usage are integral parts of developing a modern economy in rural areas. Unfortunately, many households in rural India struggle to access reliable electricity and, therefore, are unable to power appliances throughout the day. We use household survey data from 10,249 households across the Indian states of Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh to explore potential drivers of electric appliance usage. By applying a series of linear and nonlinear models, we find that grid-connected households have more electricity available to them, and use significantly more electricity to power appliances in each of four designated household appliance categories: lighting (e.g., LEDs and CFLs), cooling (e.g., fans and AC units), entertainment (e.g., phones and TVs), and housekeeping (e.g., refrigerators and irons). Households using alternative power sources, including solar home systems (SHSs) and mini-grids, exhibit high uptake and use of lower-level appliances in the lighting and cooling categories, but much less so in the entertainment and housekeeping categories. Grid access is also correlated with higher electricity availability than alternative sources. Electricity availability is shown to be a highly significant predictor for powering appliances for longer time periods in all categories, but especially for more easily attainable appliances in lighting and cooling categories.
Keywords: India, electricity access, environment, off-grid energy access, appliances, rural development
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