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Towards an understanding of residential electricity consumption in India

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Author(s): Aditya Chunekar, Ashok Sreenivas Publication Date: July, 2018

This journal paper has been published in Building Research & Information's special issue on Energy & climate change solutions: India's building stock

Residential electricity consumption in India has increased by a factor more than 50 since 1971. India’s electrified households on average still consume less than one-third of the world’s average for electricity. Rapid electrification, increasing incomes and technology development can result in increased appliance ownership and higher electricity use. A better understanding of this demand can help to develop effective energy-efficiency policies, optimize the addition of generation capacity, and tackle challenges of climate change and environmental pollution. However, research on residential electricity consumption has received limited attention in India until now. A systematic examination of determinants of residential electricity consumption will require an interdisciplinary approach involving the fields of engineering, economics (traditional and behavioural), anthropology, architecture and others. A two-step approach is presented to advance understanding. First, a critical literature review from different disciplines is presented that explores residential electricity consumption in India. Public data sets are also analyzed to gather insights and highlight inconsistencies. Second, an interdisciplinary approach is proposed and developed that can be adopted for research on residential electricity consumption in India. The data needs and systems to facilitate such an approach are provided.

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