Electrification in Rural Bangladesh: An Assessment of Socio-economic Impacts of Subsidized Tariff on Life-line Consumers
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 for different energy products, and creating competitive markets. A major task of BERC is to determine gas and electricity prices in Bangladesh. Thus activities of BERC are expected to affect the living standard of the electricity consumers and to protect and preserve the interest of consumers, especially rural life-line consumers, the consumers who belong to the lowest tier of electricity consumption (1 to 50 units). In particular, BERC has been determining 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 numerous benefits of electrification. This study aims to assess the extent to which the lower tariff rate determined by BERC affects the life-line consumers of electricity as well to assess the socio-economic impact of expansion of rural electrification on life-line consumers.