Project Name: Energizing Development Nepal (EnDev)
Timeframe: Phase 1 (2020); potential Phase 2 in 2021
Sector: Energy (electric cooking)
Unique Features: Project design informed by in-depth market assessment research on electric cooking behaviours. Use of tools for monitoring systemic change during project design to articulate the intended strategy for shifting behaviour of multiple market actors in tandem
Use cases covered by this case study: Program design & Proposal writing
Tools used in this case study:
The wider EnDev project seeks to increase access to reliable electricity in both peri urban and rural areas of Nepal. In 2020, PA conducted a market and institutional readiness study to inform the design of electric cooking market activation program in Nepal. This helped PA to support the promotion of electric cooking behaviours in rural areas through demand creation and strengthening the supply chain by encouraging local retailers to stock electric cookstoves. In rural Nepal, electricity cooperatives are a crucial intermediary between the large electricity utility and individual household customers.
During the 1 year of implementation, the team learned about the key supporting services and functions that were required for a high-performing energy market system. Consumers need to be willing as well as have capacity to pay both for the appliances and the electricity – a situation stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Distributors and retailers need to trust consumer demand enough to stock appliances (high-cost items to keep in inventory). Crucially, the main electricity utility needs to upgrade distribution infrastructure and supply energy meters to households to upgrade their capacity to have enough power to use the cookstoves. The electricity cooperatives, intermediaries between household consumers and the utility, need to be proactive in bringing these needs to the attention of the main utility. This requires longer-term systemic changes, not feasible in a one-year project timeframe.
To bridge the gap, PA Nepal has obtained funding for 2020-21 to lead an in-depth study of consumer behaviours related to adoption of electric cooking. This includes household data collection through observations and cooking diaries to understand when people cook, who cooks, what they cook – to see whether the appliances suit traditional meal preparation. In parallel, the study will track the current and voltage of electricity supplied to see how usage behaviour responds to the reliability of electricity. Such data is intended to be used to ‘inform policy’ – including the behaviours of market actors such as distributors, retailers and the main utilities.
This combination of project implementation and research has provided the team with a unique insight into the dynamics of this market system. Looking ahead, PMSD offers a promising approach for influencing behaviour of many different market actors in combination. Accordingly, the team is trialling PMSD tools to articulate a project proposal for the next phase of work.
The Adopt, Adapt, Expand, Respond (AAER) tool is being used to think through the potential sequence of changes over a longer period of time:
- Initial adoption of the model in two communities. Consumers use electric cookstoves and pay for the electricity; retailers stock and sell the cookstoves; the electricity cooperatives communicate with consumers, conduct safety audits and install meters; and the electricity utility approves and provides household energy meters.
- Possible expansion of the model to new communities by communicating the success through various media channels and inviting peer electricity cooperatives to visit and learn about how things work.
- Later adaptation based on learning. Retailers start to actively market to new customers and offer after-sale services and warranty, building consumer loyalty. Cooperatives shift to analyzing the costs and benefits of shifts to electricity at a community level, communicating findings back to consumers and on to the utility, which uses cost-benefit analysis to strategize long-term upgrades and possible expansion
- Ultimately, a response from the national electricity system actors: Cooperatives co-financing local distribution and transformers based on the strength of analysis and projections; Utilities investing in sub-stations and high voltage distribution lines; Regulator approving tariffs to cover expansion while ensuring consumer interest.
While AAER helps articulate the sequence of changes at a broad level over many years, the same information can be communicated in a simple visual form through results chains. This is useful for showing the relationship between initial ‘piloting’ or adoption of the model, and the later replication or expansion to new communities with different forms of support (less direct) from the project. For this to happen, the project design needs to think about the different influences required to actually compel those later adopters: from consumer demand data to stories and perspectives of businesses that invested in the concept. This can help inform options to make a policy or business case that can be used during implementation. If the project proposal succeeds in attracting funding, it will be off to an excellent start in articulating the vision of market system changes.