Energy poverty reduction by fuel switching. Impact evaluation of the LPG conversion program in Indonesia
In low- and middle-income countries, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) can be an attractive alternative to the widespread use of traditional kerosene. Not only is LPG a relatively clean, safe and cost-effective fuel for households, its large-scale adoption also reduces the heavy burden of kerosene consumption subsidies on government budgets. Against this background, we evaluate the impact of a large government program to substitute LPG for kerosene in Indonesia. Using a household survey across urban, suburban and rural regions we find that this program was very effective in causing a large scale shift from kerosene to LPG. This shift was positively influenced by level of education, household size and household income. Contradicting the energy-ladder model, the LPG program, reinforced by an increase in the price of kerosene, led to increased stacking of fuels, including increasing consumption of both electricity and traditional biomass. In addition, our analysis shows that the LPG program failed to substantially reduce the overall number of energy-poor people, but it has been effective in alleviating extreme energy-poverty. Finally, we find that medium and higher income households in suburban areas benefitted most from the LPG program.