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Eager to connect, cautious to consume: An integrated view of the drivers and motivations for electricity consumption among rural households in Kenya

Tesfamichael, Meron, Bastille, Clifford and Leach, Matthew (2019) Eager to connect, cautious to consume: An integrated view of the drivers and motivations for electricity consumption among rural households in Kenya Energy Research & Social Science.

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Abstract

In the last ten years, electrification in Kenya has proceeded at an astonishing rate. Notwithstanding this feat, household electricity consumption, particularly in rural areas, remains significantly low. Thus, stimulating demand and sustainable consumption are the next critical challenges policymakers face. In this paper, we present a case study of an electrification project that targets workers’ housing inside a commercial tea estate. We use Energy Cultures framework to analyse what motivates and constrains household electricity consumption in rural Kenya. Our findings show that although people give significant consideration to cost, money is not the only determinant. Electricity is desired to the extent that it enables families to carry out socially desirable activities, while service is measured against expectations and aspirations. Although access to the grid influences households’ perceptions of wellbeing, their status as migrant workers has a constraining effect on how they consume electricity. Empowered by technology, households are also increasingly taking charge in shaping their own distinct energy cultures. However, for the most part, this involves finding new ways to reproduce and sustain a way of life that is consistent with their belief systems. Seeing households as embodiments of lifestyles whose energy culture is shaped by their on-going interactions with their physical and social environments, the paper argues for an integrated approach to policy and programmatic interventions.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Tesfamichael, Meron
Bastille, Clifford
Leach, MatthewM.Leach@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 2019
Funders : Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Department for International Development (DFID), Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
Grant Title : Agro-Industries and Clean Energy in Africa
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 28 Nov 2019 09:08
Last Modified : 28 Nov 2019 09:08
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/853212

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