Options for Improving Access to Modern Energy among the Urban Poor
A common trend in most developing countries is the exclusion of utility services to the urban poor especially those living in informal settlements (i.e. slums). Most urban authorities/utilities do not provide electricity, water, sanitation, roads/streets, street lighting, etc to the informal settlements - where the poor live – and, where this happens, it is usually an initiative of the central government. This topic explores pro-poor options that urban authorities/utilities could adopt in order to enhance energy services to the urban poor living within their cities. For example, low cost pro-poor options for the provision of electricity services include pre-payment metering; load-limited electrical supply; solar home systems; flood-lighting; solar PV streetlights; etc. In addition, the urban authorities can provide special incentives to encourage the private sector to provide energy services. For example, independent power distributors can buy electricity in bulk from the power utilities and on-sell it to homes and businesses in the slums areas. Micro-finance institutions working with the urban poor can be encouraged to offer affordable loans for the poor to invest in low-cost LPG cookers and cylinders. Therefore, this e-dialogue topic is expected to address the following questions: What are the options that urban authorities/utilities could adopt for provision of pro-poor energy services? What case examples exist from which other urban authorities/utilities could draw lessons from? What obstacles prevent urban authorities/utilities from providing energy services to informal settlements/slums?