Energy poverty and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Kenya
The role played by energy in social, economic and political development of a country is vital. Access to energy encourages development via improvement in education. It also accelerates economic development through mechanization and modernization of communications. Energy poverty continues to be a biting problem in Kenya with an average of 85% of households using traditional fuels for cooking, lighting and heating, and approximately 77% of the total population lack access to electricity. This study empirically investigates the relationship between LPG consumption and energy poverty in Kenya using time series data for the period 1970 – 2011. Its objectives are to estimate the level of energy poverty in the country, determine the role played by Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in reducing energy poverty, and to identify measures to enable more households to shift away from solid fuels to LPG. To measure energy poverty, the study adopts the International Energy Agency’s Energy Development Index (EDI). It employs the Error Correction Model to examine the relationship between LPG consumption and energy poverty in Kenya. The results indicate the existence of a negative long-run relationship between LPG consumption and energy poverty. Energy poverty levels in Kenya are disturbing. The study therefore recommends the promotion of LPG consumption as LPG has been seen to play a critical role in reducing energy poverty in the country.