4 thoughts on “‘Energy Access‘: The Kerosene Story”

  1. My own experience and experience of many NGOs promoting min two 5W LED lights to rural homes who are denied access to electric power by the government for the last 67 years reveal that the first impact of have Solar LED lights is the family saving Rs.150 or more each month to buy kerosene. Cooking fuel has rarely been found to be kerosene. The entire rural lighting program by its government in Sri Lanka is centred on reducing kerosene consumption.
    MNRE wastes 2000MWh of Solar energy each day today out of the 2GW PV solar power it injects into the grid. This lost power would have helped us to take light into 20 Million homes. That’s how we work on advise from Big Business!!

  2. Thanks for the study. Hope this will help waking in Finance or Petroleum Ministry. Currently there is a monopoly on kerosene distribution through Public Distribution System. In terms of technology there is a monopoly dominated by a wick lamp. Both these need to be broken. First by opening more channels of distribution of kerosene. This could happen by direct transfer of kerosene subsidy in PM Jan Dhan scheme, targeting first the 2/3rd + kerosene districts. Along with this kerosene subsidy could be auctioned. A service provider could bid to provide a million homes with intermediary solar home systems. There could be 7 to 8 solar service providers promoted, each of them bidding for a volume to convert million homes. Oil majors and energy companies could form consortiums to bid for a transition incentive, which would be equivalent to next 5 years of kerosene budget of each household. Each household would be asked to surrender the kerosene quota in lieu of which they will get a service of solar light. The service provider then would trade the surrendered quota in open market to get its revenue. Initially the terms should be more lucrative than any normal business as ususal rate of return to attract large investment and mitigate high risk perception and high costs associated with rural operations. As the market develops the incentives could eased.

  3. This is a good analysis and thought provoking too.
    Why is use of kerosene for cooking declining? There could be several reasons for this.

    i. Increase in penetration of LPG and increase in incomes of rural population to pay for a clean cooking fuel. This is surely a success story.


    ii. If kerosene has become a scarce or a costly fuel over the decade, then it is important to understand where have the kerosene users gone? What is the fuel switch and why it has taken place? If kerosene has been replaced by a cleaner, safer fuel or cooking device like biogas, improved chulha, induction cooker, then great, it is still undoubtedly a success story

    iii. But if households are prefering to save up the kerosene for lighting rather than for cooking and have moved to a lower grade cooking fuel that is available locally say agro residues, cow dung cakes (which are not paid for), then it is a matter of concern. Shift to a lower grade cooking fuel or device has implications on the respiratory health of the family.

    iv. Shift in use of kerosene away from cooking and for lighting could also indicate other shifts in lifestyles in rural areas: I am taking the liberty to hazard a few guesses
    More children are going to school, studying at night so heavier the lighting load
    Women are engaged in home based livelihoods at night requiring light
    Alternatives to kerosene as a cooking fuel are available locally but alternatives to kerosene for lighting are not available locally

    We need to examine the data more closely to see if we can diagnose the reasons shift. So I am sure the team can come up with different ways of overlaying the GIS layers a lot more insights would be available.

    look forward to more such analysis

    1. Thanks a lot. Will take this up once analysis of different states is over. One needs to see if the reduction in kerosene users for cooking goes with increase in LPG coverage or other low value fuel. In this too you may find regional patterns.

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