Publication - Energy poverty in the Lao PDR and its Impacts on Education and Health

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Energy poverty in the Lao PDR and its Impacts on Education and Health

Sothea Oum
Published in
May 2019
The Lao PDR has experienced rapid growth and poverty reduction through its openness to trade, investment, and integration to the regional and world economy. The country has also progressed in providing access to electricity and aims to have a 95% national coverage of electricity by 2020. This paper focuses on assessing the extent of energy poverty, as well as its implications on the well-being of the people, such as in education and health, using the Lao Economic Consumption Survey (LECSs). While access to electricity has dramatically increased, a significant number of households still do not have access to electricity and cannot afford to meet both necessity and energy consumption. Energy-poor households are prevalent among those who have lower income, owning lesser durables, living in rural villages without electricity connection and are far from main roads. This paper also finds that energy poverty negatively impacts households’ average school years and health status. The findings would identify the vulnerable groups of people for targeted support. It argues that while ensuring access to electricity should be prioritised, it should be accompanied by policies promoting opportunities to generate income and reduce all forms of energy poverty.