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Electrification in Rural Bangladesh: An Assessment of Socio-economic Impacts of Subsidized Tariff on Life-line Consumers

One of the key objectives of the present government’s Vision 2021 is to provide reliable and quality electricity to all by 2021 at an affordable cost. Moreover, Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.” In compliance with this goal, Bangladesh government, especially, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) is working to ensure universal access to electricity and/or energy by closely working with different energy providers such as Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), creating conducive environment for the private investment in energy sector, determining appropriate tariff rate, and creating competitive markets including many others. BERC is responsible for the setting up of gas and electricity prices in Bangladesh. These activities of BERC are most likely to affect the living standard of the electricity consumers and to protect and preserve the interest of consumers, especially rural line-line consumers. In particular, BERC determines lower tariff rate for the life-line consumers since March 2014. Because of this lower tariff rate, the number of electricity consumers are increasing day by day, i.e. more people are coming under the umbrella of rural electrification and enjoying the benefit of the expansion of rural electrification. Thus the scope of this study is to assess to what extent the lower tariff rate determined by BERC affects the proportion of life-line consumers of electricity as well to assess the socio-economic impact of this increase of rural electrification on life-line consumers.

Objectives of the study:

The objectives of the study are to assess the impact of expanded rural electrification caused by lower tariff rate on

i. income and expenditure

ii. household welfare due to lower cost of lighting and similar other services from electricity

iii. education 

iv. trend in energy use

v. Safety and protection

vi. Women empowerment

vii. Health, hygiene and safe drinking water 

viii. Entertainment

ix. Communication and networking 

Two researchers from BIDS will be involved in this study. 

Team Leader: Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow, BIDS Member: Dr. Zabid Iqbal, Research Associate, BIDS.

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