Rural Electrification

At some point in time, agricultural processes were identified as potential applications for electricity and, consequently, the lines began to be extended into the rural areas. Here, the density of potential clients and the intensity of electricity use was not as large as in the cities or the industrial centers; therefore investments in grid extensions became hard to recover, so new institutional and financing mechanisms were developed to support the operation. Official rural electrification programs were introduced in the most advanced nations, an initiative that eventually trickled down to the developing countries.

As rural electrification proved beneficial to developed societies, early policy planners felt that the same or similar benefits could be achieved in developing societies. Thus, a major effort was undertaken in the 1960s and early 1970s to extend the electrical lines into the rural areas of developing countries. However, by the end of the twentieth century only a few developing nations had reached an acceptable degree of electric grid coverage in rural areas. The rest could not advance much as a result of a number of problems faced by the electric utilities, including lack of capital to finance additions of capacity and grid extensions. Thus, the process of rural electrification through grid extensions in many developing nations stalled, to the point that the problem of rural electrification again became a major political issue around the world.

Updated: August 24, 2015 — 7:28 pm