Assessment of the Economic Costs of Electrical Power Outages in Swaziland
Swaziland has been experiencing power outages that have muted the country’s efforts to increase access to electricity. As it stands, electricity supply is unreliable which has resulted in harsh penalties and costs to the economy. Using a sample of customers from both the residential and business sector, this study assessed the economic costs of power outages in Swaziland. The costs of power outages on the residential sector as a proportion of Swaziland’s GDP were found to be 1.67% using the Direct Cost Method. The average value for willingness to pay for improved electricity supply is E1.525 per kWh in winter and E1.530 per kWh in summer.
The study identifies weekly frequency of power outages, perception of current price of electricity, possession and, maintenance cost of back-up equipment as having a role in consumers’ willingness to pay for improved supply. Under the business sector, the industrial sector reported the highest direct costs compared to the other sectors, which shows that it is the sector which is mostly affected due to power interruptions. The paper therefore recommends the need for policy attention towards improving the electricity sector through investments in electricity generation by renewable energy sources, expedite the promotion of decentralised electricity generation to vulnerable areas and setting of standards for the generation and distribution of electricity.Download PDF