Measuring energy access in developing countries involves much more than simply recording whether or not households are connected to the grid. Both international organizations and scholars now recognize the importance of a reliable electricity supply for achieving positive development outcomes. Yet, measuring reliability is much more difficult than measuring the existence of connections. We propose an economical crowdsourcing method for measuring reliability and compare this method to energy monitor data for 122 households over 12 months. The results suggest that, while far from perfect, crowdsourcing provides a reasonably accurate method for monitoring the reliability of access over time, especially when modeled as a non-linear relationship. We apply these findings to model energy reliability in a broader group of villages across Uttar Pradesh, India, demonstrating the existence of disparities between urban and rural reliability and seasonal fluctuations in reliability. The system laid out in this study can be utilized by government and non-government organizations to quickly and cheaply monitor energy reliability.Click here for more
Forests provide timber, fuelwood, fodder, non-timber forest products and a range of ecosystem services that support livelihoods for millions of people. As people migrate to cities for seasonal employment, their dependence on forest resources is likely to change. Moreover, afforestation with plantations and forest degradation may alter the ability of households to pursue forest-based livelihoods. Better understanding of these processes is crucial for designing policies that maximize the positive benefits and mitigate negative impacts of the forest degradation and reforestation for both people and forests. Professor Ruth DeFries and Professor Johannes Urpelainen are conducting the largest of its kind survey in three states in the Central Indian Highlands. Morsel collected data on their behalf from 5000 HHs in 500 villages and collected GPS coordinates of afforestation efforts by forest department. This project is funded by NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration)Click here for more
Shalu Agrawal, Research Associate, Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy, Nidhi Bali, Program Manager, Smart Power India, Dr. Johannes Urpelainen, Founding Director, Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy
This study is a collaboration between Smart Power India (SPI), a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP), at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The report distils learnings on electricity access and customer demand. One of the unique contributions of this report is the insight on baseline electricity demand at a village level, including the use of electricity for productive purposes. The findings in this report are based on primary data collected from customer surveys of over 10,000 rural households and 2,000 rural enterprises across four Indian states – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan. This report also provides insights into customer experiences under different electricity delivery models – public sector distribution companies (DISCOMs), solar mini-grids, and private distribution franchises. This report claims that grid-electrification coverage and adoption is high among rural households with the electric grid emerging as the primary source of electricity and lighting for many. However, gaps are prevalent with the rural micro-enterprises. In the study area, only 65% of enterprises had grid-electricity connections. While the share of connected rural enterprises is over 90% in Odisha and Rajasthan, it is lower than 60% in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. And non-grid sources such as solar home systems, rechargeable batteries, mini-grids, and diesel generators form an important part of the rural electricity mix. Sixteen percent of households and 40% of enterprises use non-grid sources.Click here for more
PIs: Professor Johannes Urpelainen
In this randomized controlled trial, researchers from Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Washington, St. Louis, evaluated the impact of Mera Gao Power‘s solar microgrids. In the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, 100 habitations were surveyed for a variety of socio-economic indicators. 40 habitations were chosen for microgrid deployment and impacts measured several times over a period of 6-24 months. MORSEL conducted the surveys and supported the monitoring and implementation of the microgrid deployment. The principal investigator was Professor Johannes Urpelainen.
Location : Barabanki district of Uttar PradeshClick here for more
Schatz Energy Research Center Supported by the Lighting Asia/India Program, International Finance Corporation IFC Schatz Energy Research Center ( SERC ) at Humboldt State University in the United States is implementing a consumer preferences study that is supported by the Lighting Asia/India Program, IFC. In the past two years, the Indian government has significantly intensified grid electrification efforts in rural India. While the village level electrification rate has increased substantially, grid electricity remains unreliable in many areas. At the same time, the off-grid solar sector continues to deliver products to rural customers in India. Given this backdrop, the SERC team led by Dr. Arne Jacobson and Richa Goyal are studying consumer preferences for off-grid solar products and the role that solar technologies can play in bridging the energy access gap in cases where grid electricity is unreliable or not available.
The study will investigate consumer preferences for a set of technical and non-technical features of a range of off-grid solar lighting products, including whether preferences vary by gender, income, and other factors.
MORSEL is the fieldwork implementation partner for this study and is helping collect primary data from consumers and retailers of solar off-grid products in four states in India."Click here for more
PIs: Michael Machala, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Andrey Poletayev, Stanford University, Rushil Prakash, Stanford School of Earth, Energy, and Environment, Prof. Sally Benson, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy and Professor of Energy Resources Engineering
Researchers developed and are deploying a new high-performance and affordable solar drying system for chili farmers in India. Traditional open-sun drying takes 2-3 weeks, leading to degradation of chili quality and loss of marketable chilies. Commercially available heat pump dryers can address this issue but require more electric power and CapEx than are available in rural areas. The new product dries chilies in 3-4 days, reducing risk while increasing chili quality and quantity. Researchers accomplish this by utilizing thermal management techniques to convert a low-cost, inefficient greenhouse into a well-controlled drying structure. Morsel conducted a survey with chili farmers and producing groups to test the drying-as-a-service business model.Click here for more
PIs: David Szakonyia , assistant professor of political science at the George Washington University, Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
While energy poverty is a particularly large problem in rural areas, rapid urbanization in developing countries is also raising concerns about energy access in urban areas. How can policymakers improve energy access for the urban poor? Researchers addressed this question by investigating the use of solar power for improved lighting for urban street vendors. Findings reveal potential problems with the approach. Key issues include opposition by local strongmen who operate diesel generators, the difficulty of finding local entrepreneurs to operate the system, vendor misuse of the lights, and physical barriers such as land availability. Policy recommendations include considering the sales of standalone devices and relying on the urban electricity grid for connections.
With the help of a NGO, Nidan, researchers provided access to high-quality solar lighting to street vendors in Patna, Bihar. MORSEL has conducted a mapping of all marketplaces in Patna and collected primary data of 1,000 randomly sampled street vendors in three waves.
Location : BiharClick here for more
PIs: Brian Blankenship Columbia University, Ryan Kennedy, Associate Professor, University of Houston, Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Jason Chun Yu Wong, London School of Economics
In this study, researchers were interested in testing whether an intervention to encourage households to set up legal electricity connections can make an impact on the total number of rural households with access to electricity. Morsel surveyed 10 households in 200 habitations in the Sitapur district and the Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh.
The primary motivation of this project is to evaluate the capacity for social workers to encourage electriﬁcation as a method for meeting the government’s goal of 24x7 power to all households in UP. The electriﬁcation of villages in rural Uttar Pradesh has proceeded rapidly in recent years, but the level of consumption has remained well below the national average (India Ministry of Power, 2017).
Location : BiharClick here for more
PIs: Semee Yoon , Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development and Cooperation at Underwood International College and the Graduate School of International Studies of Yonsei University., Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Milind Kandlikar, Professor of Science, Technology, and Development at the University of British Columbia
Where electricity access is limited, solar lanterns are a viable and relatively inexpensive source of basic lighting for households. However, the creation of commercially viable business models for solar lanterns is difficult because the customers are poor and make decisions under tight liquidity constraints. To understand the economics of technology adoption in the case of solar lanterns, researchers conducted a field experiment on willingness to pay (WTP) for solar lanterns in rural Uttar Pradesh. Applying the Becker–DeGroot–Marschak method of eliciting WTP, researchers evaluate the ability of a trial period and postponed payment to increase sales.
In the marketing experiment, local volunteers sell solar lanterns to villagers under different contracting arrangements and implement a BDM game to elicit unbiased estimates of willingness to pay. MORSEL was responsible for training the volunteers, overseeing their work, and preparing a dataset for analysis.
Location : Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, IndiaClick here for more
In this project, we came across many climatic tit-bits. As flood is the main cause of climatic change and everybody knows about the flood in Kosi River at Bihar during August-September 2008. Researchers studied the flood-affected areas in Bihar (A state of India, where about 80 percent population is living in rural areas).
MORSEL had done a survey along the Kosi River’s new course. Researchers selected 10 villages along the new course of the river, situated approximately 14.5 Kms away from each other. MORSEL was involved from pilot survey to final data entry. Researchers are planning to go to the same village in 2010 to find the changes.
Location : BiharClick here for more
PIs: Semee Yoon, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development and Cooperation at Underwood International College and the Graduate School of International Studies of Yonsei University, Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Can sales of solar products and services be a commercially viable business in poor rural communities? Although enthusiasm for off-grid electrification among researchers and practitioners is widespread, the determinants of commercial success in this domain remain poorly understood. In collaboration with a local social enterprise, Boond Engineering, and Development, a small investment of USD 5,000 was made to establish an energy center in the Unnao. The energy center became profitable immediately and generated seven dollars of business in solar home systems for every dollar invested during the 6-month evaluation period. Factors contributing to the success of the project included robust marketing, a strong banking partnership, the high quality of products, and continuous evaluation of staff performance. Challenges included a bias in sales toward large solar home systems, the limited access to finance for poor households, and access to working capital. Overall, the energy center model holds considerable promise for alleviating energy poverty in rural India on a large scale. MORSEL was responsible for conducting Baseline and Endline surveys in 38 villages, as well as overseeing the implementation of the field experiment on a daily basis. The survey was funded by the Earth Institute at Columbia University under an Earth Clinic grant.
Location : Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, IndiaClick here for more
PIs: Johannes Urpelainen ( Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.) , ABHISHEK JAIN, NAMRATA RAVINDRA CHINDARKAR, SUDATTA RAY, KARTHIK GANESAN, MICHAËL AKLIN, CHAO-YO CHENG
This project was funded by Shakti Foundation and Columbia University. Council on Energy, Environment and Water is also a partner of the project. This project aimed to collect household information on energy and fuel usage and equipment. For this, MORSEL selected households (HHS) by using PPS design and Systematic Random Sampling. We surveyed 9,000 households in 6 states of India. The states were Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. Duration of the assignment was about 2 months. Read 2015 Report
Location : Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West BengalClick here for more
In this field experiment, researchers tried to find out the impact of Social Learning on the willingness to pay for a solar lantern on families in rural areas of India among both the genders. Under the supervision of Johannes Urpelainen, Yonas Alem a Postdoc Researcher, Department of Economics, The University of Gothenburg, where he received his Ph.D. in Economics and Eugenie Dugoua a Ph.D. candidate in Sustainable Development at the School of International and Public Affairs, at Columbia University. MORSEL distributed 200 solar lanterns for free and then used the Becker–DeGroot–Marschak method (BDM) game to sell the solar lantern. In this randomized control in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh, MORSEL surveyed 1000 households in two shifts.
Location : Gonda district of Uttar PradeshClick here for more
PIs: Semee Yoon, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development and Cooperation at Underwood International College and the Graduate School of International Studies of Yonsei University, Sini Numminen, Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University, Peter Lund, Professor New Energy Technologies, Aalto University, Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources, and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
This experiment tests the applicability of a “frugal innovation” approach to dynamic pricing. The experiment will be conducted as a collaboration between Aalto University, Columbia University and Boond which is a social enterprise. The goal is to conduct a rigorous randomized controlled trial on the feasibility of dynamic pricing characterized by poverty and low demand for electricity. Researchers have found a way to reduce the cost of off-grid systems and facilitate the expansion of off-grid electricity generation for the rural population.
An innovative pricing mechanism will be tested in field conditions in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh in India in total, seven pico-grids that will be installed in habitations. A pilot pico-grid is meant exclusively for testing and six additional pico-grids exclusively for data collection. MORSEL collected weekly data from the households and technical data from the energy meters as well.
Location : Unnao district of Uttar PradeshClick here for more
MORSEL conducted a study to investigate whether information and citizen empowerment can improve participatory governance and in the long run quality of electricity supply in rural India. This project is directed by Brian Blankenship, Johannes Urpelainen and Jason Wong. This project consists sample size of 12 villages of roughly equal size where meters were installed with the help of Prayas NGO, which monitored the electricity supply in each village- namely, how many hours of service there were on a given day and the number of the outage. In this study, MORSEL asked respondents about their confidence in government, their perceptions, of government responsiveness to their concerns, and their satisfaction with their electricity supply. The study includes both conventional survey experiments and conjoint experiments on valuation of electricity supply.
Location : Sitapur district of Uttar PradeshClick here for more
IIT Madras has deployed about 4,000 DC solar home systems in remote habitations of Western Rajasthan. CEEW and IITM are conducting this study to understand people's energy needs and their willingness to pay for a certain level of energy services, as well as the impact these DC home systems on the socioeconomic condition of the households. Researchers selected 60 treatment HHs and 60 unelectrified HHs for assessment. Morsel collected primary data from selected HHs.
Location : Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, RajasthanClick here for more
The Researcher is working in this region with Boond (an NGO), which is installing solar micro-grids in selected villages in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh. Researchers selected 100 revenue villages. 50 villages got treatment by the deployment of solar micro-grids. 50 villages are serving as control areas. Morsel collected Baseline data from around 6000 HHs and collected information about household characteristics; access to, and satisfaction with, electricity; familiarity with solar technologies; and the willingness to pay for solar electricity, amongst others. Morsel is helping to develop the survey instruments, piloting them in the field, and then conducting the surveys.
Location : Unnao, Uttar PradeshClick here for more
India's groundwater extraction is heavily dependent on diesel pumps, and one reason is the lack of reliable power supply. The widespread use of diesel pumps is an economic problem due to the inefficiency and high cost of said pumps. Could rural electrification improve the situation? Researchers estimate the relationship between village electrification and the counts of electric and diesel pumps in India, 1982–1999. Under the supervision of Johannes Urpelainen and Michael Graham Smith. Morsel surveyed 2000 Households at Bihar and Uttar Pradesh Border and Rajasthan and Gujarat Border.Click here for more
This project was funded by Shakti foundation and supervised by Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The aim of this research was to elucidate farmer’s perspectives on solar pumps and understanding barriers that prevent them from adopting solar pumps for irrigation. The particular focus was on farmer’s awareness of solar pumps, their interest in adopting them and their willingness-to-pay to own a solar pump. Here the survey was carried out by Morsel in 10 selected districts of Uttar Pradesh covering 1600 farmers. In each district, 16 villages were selected based on simple random sampling using Census Village list for UP.Click here for more
Researchers tried to understand expectations of energy supply in both urban and rural areas of India and availability of different kind of energy (solar, grid and mini-grids) in different regions from mountains to the plain area of India. Researchers also tried to understand difference between urban and rural area demand and supply structure of energy and expectations as well. For this purpose, Morsel conducted 50 Qualitative surveys and 500 Quantitative surveys in Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.Click here for more
PIs: Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Solar Village Project
This study tried to understand the benefits of improved lighting in rural India. A better understanding of these benefits can lead to informed state government policy and thus contribute to rural development. In the baseline, Morsel conducted 200 Households interviews in 50 sample villages and in 100 treatment households solar lanterns were distributed after the demonstration. In the end line, 100 HH individuals from baseline were again interviewed. This project was executed in partnership with Solar Village Project and D.Light Design Inc
Location : district Bahraich, Uttar PradeshClick here for more
Under this project, researchers are trying to gather information for a planned organizational transition from charitable giving model to a sales/financed based model. For this Morsel is carrying out the field work which involves selling 25 solar lanterns in cash and 25 lanterns to be financed. This is done so that financial feasibility of solar can be measured and scalable social enterprise business model can be generated. This is carried out in Bahraich district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.Click here for more
This project was conducted by Morsel on behalf of The University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute based in Delhi. This was in continuation of a research study about the impact of passive cooling technologies on indoor temperature and quality of life. For this, Morsel conducted a survey of approximately 10-20 minutes in the Sabda JJ colony, in Delhi for over a period of 1.5-2 months. The data of approximately 524 households were collected in 3 waves consisting of Baseline, Midline and Endline.Click here for more
PIs: Jacob Kopas PhD Candidate Columbia University, Erin York PhD Candidate Columbia University, S.P. Harish Assistant Professor College of William & Mary, Victoria Shen Assistant Professor University of Virginia, Johannes Urpelainen Professor Johns Hopkins University
This study represents an important advance in social science knowledge on how the public forms its opinion on controversial environmental policy such as air pollution. The study is linking survey responses to geospatial data on air quality, and thereby test the eﬀect of exposure to actual air pollution to public opinion.
The study is also testing the eﬀect of giving survey respondents additional information about major sources of air pollution in their area: speciﬁcally, coal-ﬁred power plants. As air pollution is a complex phenomenon that is inﬂuenced by many factors and meteorological conditions, speciﬁc information about the causes of air pollution may help solidify public opinion, and by extension, promote public accountability. Morsel collected 500 surveys in 110 wards across Lucknow Municipal Corporation of Uttar Pradesh.Click here for more
PIs: Karthik Ganesan Research Fellow CEEW, Kapardhi Bharadwaj Program Associate CEEW, Kanika Balani Research Analyst CEEW, Johannes Urpelainen Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Under Saubhagya scheme, Uttar Pradesh added the largest number of households to its existing consumer base – as many new consumers as served by state distribution companies (discoms) before the launch of the scheme. Household consumption significantly impacts the overall financial position of discoms and the state. Any discussion on losses and theft calls for an evaluation of the services provided by discoms. Electricity loss other than that attributable to technical reasons may be broadly classified into hard theft and metering, billing, and collection (MBC) losses. Hard theft refers to theft as defined under Section 135 of the Electricity Act-2003 (referred to as Act) and entails, mainly, theft due to hooking of wires (katiya), meter tampering, and unauthorized electricity usage, and includes wilful misrepresentation of electricity consumption. This study, in the meanwhile, was carried out to improve understanding of the discom–consumer dynamics in UP and how it manifests in supply outcomes for the consumer. This study further aims to: · unpack the commercial losses attributed to domestic consumers; · capture the consumer perspective and actions (or lack thereof) in the midst of the administrative reform underway; and · explore how this reform can help drive targeted activities to improve compliance, satisfaction, and create a virtuous cycle for the utility business in the state.Click here for more
PIs: Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment (ERE) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, S.P. Harish Assistant Professor College of William & Mary
Many households in India, especially in rural areas, use kerosene for their lighting needs. They prefer to use kerosene despite it being identified as a health hazard and cleaner alternatives available in their locality. A key stumbling block to the use of solar lanterns is that households are hesitant to adopt new technology when they are unsure of its value and quality. One way that households can reduce this uncertainty is to learn its usefulness through the actual use of the product. If households are given an opportunity to use a solar lantern, then they would gain familiarity with the product, making them more comfortable with its use, and be willing to substitute kerosene with these cleaner alternatives.
Keeping this aim in the mind researchers collected information on kerosene use and public opinion regarding policies associated with the availability and purchase of kerosene or Solar Lanterns. Morsel carried out a survey in 100 revenue villages across Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh in two waves.Click here for more
Morsel captured the data through household surveys across five Indian cities. The study is an attempt to understand the challenges faced by residential consumers at various stages of their decision pertaining to the installation of rooftop solar PV systems. Addressing three key challenges—lack of clear, objective, and accessible information for installation; absence of customized financing options; and lack of coordination in institutional priorities and processes—can enhance residential consumers’ experience in installing rooftop solar PV. The study was funded by Shakti Foundation and conducted under the direction of World Resource Institute
Location : Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Jaipur, NagpurClick here for more
This survey tested local need of solar light. Political Scientist, Johannes Urpelainen Professor Johns Hopkins University, tested that whether the positive sight of solar lamps can impact lives or not. For this purpose, the researcher took a sample of 400 households (after house listing) in 2 gram panchayat at Shajahanpur district from Uttar Pradesh. These gram panchayats are very close to Roja Thermal Power plant. MORSEL interviewed the same families two times after a gap of 4 days to get an idea about people perception.
Location : Uttar PradeshClick here for more
Low voltage, frequent interruptions, and load shedding is a concern for electricity consumers in India. This may require them to invest in alternative power sources and voltage stabilizers or suffer the loss of productivity and inconvenience. Moreover, reliable data about supply quality is often missing, which hampers consumers’ ability to hold distribution companies accountable.
Prayas has developed a technology-driven approach to monitor supply quality provided by electricity companies. Through this initiative, supply quality in various urban and rural areas across the country can be easily viewed on the website. MORSEL is providing support to deploy and monitoring of ESMs in five districts of Uttar Pradesh.Click here for more
Selco foundation undertook a research project on understanding the enterprise energy ecosystem in the Kheri and Pilibhit districts in UP and Kalahandi and Koraput in Orissa. Selco wanted to understand the uses of energy in the areas near the forest. MORSEL conducted Focus Group Discussion in 33 specific villages in Kheri and PiIlibhit and 26 specific villages in Kalahandi and Koraput, provided all the required materials and collected digital data and audio recordings of the field study.
Location : Kheri and Pilibhit districts in UP and Kalahandi and Koraput in OrissaClick here for more
Funded by GSES India Sustainable Energy Pvt. Ltd in this project Morsel is trying to get a sense of energy demand in two villages in Uttar Pradesh. This project is being monitored by Smart Power for Rural Development India Foundation.Click here for more