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Rural Electrification Policies: Overcoming Brazilian Energy Poverty

Most developing countries include rural electrification programs in their efforts to improve social conditions. There are, however, several obstacles to the evaluation of such programs and therefore of their social, economic, environmental and energy impacts on the target population, particularly on impoverished communities located in remote areas. Evaluation of the efficacy of public policies aimed at rural electrification should be quantified and re-considered so as to bolster the sustainability of their planning and implementation and also so as to enable comprehension of the significance of access to electricity in relation to other aspects of the drive to improve living standards. The provision of electric energy amounts to more than access to a public service and should be considered an essential right, in a context of social equity and justice. On this context, this study 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. This book re-examines 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 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.