Evaluation of Mass Electricity Connections in Kenya
Last registered on October 06, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Evaluation of Mass Electricity Connections in Kenya
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000350
Initial registration date
April 23, 2014
Last updated
October 06, 2017 2:45 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-02-07
End date
2018-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Electrification has long been a benchmark of development, yet almost 70% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa lives without access to electricity. Since 2006, Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has rapidly expanded the national grid, installing electricity distribution lines and transformers across many of the country’s rural areas. There is now a unique opportunity to increase rural energy access through grid connections. This study explores the opportunity to increase rural energy access through grid connections. We utilize a randomized controlled trial to examine: 1) the demand for grid connections in rural areas, 2) the cost economies associated with mass connections, and 3) the social and economic impacts of grid power.

External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Brewer, Eric et al. 2017. "Evaluation of Mass Electricity Connections in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. October 06. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/350/history/22061
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
In partnership with the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), our team of researchers will distribute national grid connection subsidies of varying amounts to randomly selected unconnected households in rural parts of Western Kenya. These subsidies will allow households to connect to the national power grid at relatively low prices (compared to the current connection price of $412). There will be three levels of subsidies: (1) high value subsidies equal to $412, (2) mid value subsidies equal to $235, (3) low value subsidies equal to $118.

The randomized encouragement design will allow researchers to generate exogenous variation in electricity connections. In the first stage of the project, the intervention will allow researchers to: (1) trace out the demand curve for electricity connections in order to better understand the price at which the majority of Kenyans would connect to the grid, and (2) trace out the economies of scale in costs resulting from coordinated (grouped) connections. In the second stage of the project, the intervention will allow researchers to measure the social and economic impacts of electrification. The remainder of this text will focus on describing the first stage of this project.
Intervention Start Date
2014-04-28
Intervention End Date
2014-08-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The following are the key outcome variables of interest in the first stage of the project: 1. Demand: Different levels of subsidies will create random variation in the effective prices faced by rural households. By comparing take-up rates at different prices, researchers will be able to trace out a demand curve for grid connections. 2. Costs: Different levels of subsidies will create random variation in the number of households applying for power at the same time. By connecting multiple households at the same time, utilities can experience significant economies of scale in transport, design, and low-voltage line costs. We will therefore estimate the effect of increasing scale (i.e. number of applications) on the average connection cost per household. In the second stage of the project, we will examine the impacts of electrification on a range of outcomes, including energy consumption, household structure, productivity and wealth, consumption, health and wellbeing, education, social and political attitudes, and community outcomes.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study will take place across 150 “transformer communities” in Western Kenya. Each transformer community is defined as the group of all households located within 600 meters of a central electricity distribution transformer. In Kenya, all households within 600 meters of a transformer are eligible to apply for an electricity connection. The study will enroll roughly 25 randomly selected households from each transformer community. The subject population will consist of roughly 4,000 unconnected households in total.

The total sample of transformer communities will be randomly divided into treatment and control groups of equal size (75 treatment, 75 control). Each of the 75 treatment communities will be randomly assigned to one of three treatment arms (i.e. subsidy groups). Within each treatment community, all enrolled households will receive the same subsidy offer. After receiving the subsidy offer, treatment households will be given 8 weeks to accept the offer and deliver the required payment to REA. REA will then ensure that an electricity connection is delivered within a reasonable timeframe. Within each treatment community, connection applications will be grouped together, allowing REA to install multiple connections at the same time.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization will be performed at the level of the transformer community. There are 150 transformer communities in total, of which 75 will be assigned to the treatment group and 75 will be assigned to the control group.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
150 clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
4,000 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
75 clusters control, 25 clusters high subsidy, 25 clusters mid subsidy, 25 clusters low subsidy
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Committee for Protection of Human Subjects (University of California, Berkeley)
IRB Approval Date
2013-09-23
IRB Approval Number
2012-07-4477
IRB Name
Maseno University Ethics Review Committee
IRB Approval Date
2013-11-05
IRB Approval Number
MSU/DRPC/MUERC/000027/13