Smart Meters and the Benefits from Electricity Quality Improvements


Poor service quality is a challenge common to the electricity sector in many developing countries. Smart meters provide additional information to both consumers and utilities, potentially mitigating this challenge. In a randomized experiment in Kyrgyzstan, smart meters replaced houses’ old meters. Post-intervention electricity service quality was significantly better among the treatment group relative to the control group. High frequency data provided by the smart meters directed the utility to the most problematic locations within the electricity distribution system. Consumers’ benefits from electricity quality improvements were substantial. Treated households' peak electricity consumption increased, along with investments in energy efficiency and expenditures on electric appliances.

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Gary Ziwen Zu
Gary Ziwen Zu
Ph.D. student

My research interests lie at the intersection of authoritarian politics, public policy and redistributive politics.