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The challenge of energy poverty: Brazilian case study

In recent years successive Brazilian governments have actively pursued economic and social policies aimed at reducing poverty and promoting social equality and inclusion. In the field of energy, this has meant introducing and implementing programs aimed at expanding the supply of safe and reliable energy to the poorest sectors of Brazilian society, including those living in remote rural areas. This paper draws attention on the findings of extensive field research to evaluate the impact of rural electrification on energy poverty in the context of government policies aimed at promoting energy equity. The authors re-examine the concept of an energy poverty line, seeking to fine tune its application to Brazilian social and economic realities, and then apply an analytical framework (Lorenz Curve, Gap Poverty, Gap Quadratic, Gini Coefficient and Sen Index) to evaluate the effectiveness of recent efforts in Brazil to expand access to electricity. One of the main conclusions of this study is that is that rural electrification leads to a significant reduction of the energy poverty level and a consequent improvement in energy equity.