One in seven people still live without electricity: World Bank
By Megan Rowling
BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Around one in seven people across the globe still live without electricity, despite some progress in expanding access, and nearly three billion cook using polluting fuels, the World Bank said on Monday.
The global electrification rate rose to 85 percent in 2012 from 83 percent in 2010, pushing the number of people without access to electric power down to 1.1 billion from 1.2 billion.
India made significant advances, but progress in sub-Saharan Africa was far too slow, said a report tracking the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, launched by the U.N. Secretary-General in 2011.
Almost no headway was made in switching people from biomass cooking fuels such as kerosene, wood and dung, the report added.
"We are heading in the right direction to end energy poverty, but we are still far from the finish line," said Anita Marangoly George, a senior director for energy with the World Bank.
The report warned that traditional indicators can overestimate energy access because power supplies are limited or unreliable for many communities.
For example, new evidence showed that in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, 90 percent of people are judged to have access to electricity because of widespread grid connections, but the streets are dark most nights and few households can use their electrical appliances.
Ben Garside, a senior researcher with the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), said too much emphasis was placed on investing in large-scale energy projects that feed into national grids. Continued...