Mini-grid customers’ electricity consumption is limited both by how much they can afford, and what they can do with the electricity. For example, regardless of their available budget to spend on electricity, a customer who owns a single 5W LED lightbulb can only use mini-grid electricity for lighting. This means they can consume no more than about one kilowatt hour per month, even if they run it for six hours a night, every night. This is problematic for both the customer and mini-grid developer. The customer is missing out on the full benefits of electricity, while their low consumption makes it unprofitable for a mini-grid to serve them.
So why don’t customers buy more appliances and use more power?
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