More than 1.1 billion people live without energy access, and electricity utilities in many developing countries are struggling to keep up with demand, leaving millions more to contend with frequent outages and inadequate service. Without stronger, more reliable connections, small businesses’ productivity plummets, healthcare workers cannot administer refrigerated vaccines and children must study in the dark.
Electrifying these underserved communities can transform lives, but a critical data gap constrains energy decision-makers’ efforts to improve supply and quality. Regulatory commissions, utility companies and civil society organizations don’t have reliable information on supply interruptions, voltage levels or blackouts. Without this data, it’s difficult to identify problems, effectively target investments and monitor improvements.
We work with Prayas (Energy Group) and civil society partners in Indonesia, Kenya, Tajikistan and Tanzania to:
Strengthen electricity supply and quality data collection. We install electricity supply monitors in households, farms and small businesses. These plug-in devices record voltages by the minute at their location and transmit the data to a central server.
Improve transparency across the energy sector by making this information publicly available online.
Enable collective action. Equipped with this data, consumers can hold electricity companies accountable, regulatory commissions can enforce sector rules and utilities can better address supply quality problems.
Inform global dialogues on energy access and sustainable development. Access to energy is often understood in binary terms — either having a connection or not. But this traditional definition fails to capture the many dimensions of access, such as reliability, affordability and supply quality. By collecting supply and quality data, ESMI helps move the sector towards adopting a more nuanced, multi-tier framework for defining and measuring energy access.