Energy poverty in Sri Lanka

Maneka Jayasinghe, E. A. Selvanathan, Saroja Selvanathan

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    Understanding energy poverty is fundamental to any efforts to alleviate it. This paper, using the latest (2016) Sri Lankan Household Income and Expenditure survey data, examines the incidence, intensity, inequality, and determinants of energy poverty in Sri Lanka, by constructing the Multidimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI). The MEPI is calculated using a set of seven key indicators representing multiple dimensions of energy and assigning weights by using the Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Sri Lankan households, on average, are experiencing a moderate level of energy poverty (with MEPI of 0.431) where the lack of access to modern cooking fuel is the largest contributor to energy poverty. Results of this study revealed notable differences in energy poverty by gender, age, ethnicity, and income group of the head of the household and by sub-national location of the household. Significant differences in inequality in energy poverty were also observed by sub-national location and income. While energy-poor households are not necessarily always income-poor, income and other socio-demographic and geographical factors are strongly associated with energy poverty in Sri Lanka. The findings of this study raise alarms for the possible adverse implications on health and education attainment of the energy-poor. Overall, the results provide valuable policy insights into one of the most neglected dimensions of the post-war development policy agenda in Sri Lanka, in particular, and other developing countries, in general.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number105450
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalEnergy Economics
    Early online dateJul 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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