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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reducing Generation, Transmission and Distribution Inefficiencies and the Feasibility of Low Voltage Supply in LICs


The paper addresses the issue of reducing generation, transmission and distribution inefficiencies in the context of low-income countries (LICs). Here, inefficiencies include both those arising from technical and non-technical reasons. The paper also looks at the impacts of these inefficiencies on creating an enabling environment for attracting financing and investment for the utilities, and how technologies that enable tighter technical and financial auditing and lower transaction costs in payment and verification systems, could assist. A bottom-up approach using prepaid metering at the consumer end, or conventional metering with audit capabilities, automated feeder or distribution transformer readings, might allow a utility to both better manage quality of supply, identify losses, create accountability metrics, and support tighter revenue collection. In a future generation mix with variable renewables, “flexibility” will play a larger role, and looking at how integration would occur with increasing electricity demand in LICs, regional versus local approaches, emerging cooling and heating loads, and likely electrification of transport fleets. Lastly, this paper addresses what research needs to be done to address prioritization of investments in electricity provision in order to remove energy as an impediment to specific sectoral (e.g. agriculture, industry, services) growth plans.

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