Why is Better Power important?
Having access to electricity does not necessarily mean access to stable quality electricity. Despite having a power supply at home or in the workplace, people can experience blackouts or brownouts (reduced or restricted availability of electricity in a particular area). Frequent disruptions in electricity make it difficult to run a business or do the daily chores at home.
In collaboration with Tanzanian partner Twaweza, we conducted a survey of 2,000 households, to assess citizens’ perceptions of electricity services. The findings suggest that grid-connected customers are unhappy with repeated service disruptions – 66 percent say they think outages are longer than planned and 73 percent say they lack sufficient information on power cuts. The respondents said that they often buy cheaper, lower quality imitations of well-known brands, or think that they have bought a good quality solar panel, which turns out to be fake.
What we are doing
The Energy Change Lab has started working on these issues by convening a diverse range of stakeholders to discuss the findings and collectively brainstorm pathways towards building trust between customers and energy providers as well as enhancing service quality.
Throughout 2017, the Energy Change Lab piloted an Energy Supply Monitoring Initiative (ESMI) in Tanzania, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Prayas Energy Group (PEG). By placing monitoring devices in selected households and small businesses across different neighborhoods in Dar es Salaam, ESMI measures the quality of electricity supply. The data is aggregated and published live on a website, tapping into the need for reliable publicly available data on electricity quality in Tanzania. It serves customers, who can use these data to hold service providers accountable and, more generally, it serves citizen awareness and enables active citizenship. In addition to a website with ‘real life’ data, findings are shared with practitioners and policymakers through a range of blogs and stakeholder meetings.