The Effects of Rural Electrification on Quality of Life: A Southeast Asian Perspective

Jordi Cravioto, Hideaki Ohgaki, Hang Seng Che, Chiakwang Tan, Satoru Kobayashi, Hla Toe, Bun Long, Eth Oudaya, Nasrudin Abd Rahim, Hooman Farzeneh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the general agreement about the benefits that electrification brings to well-being, few studies have concentrated on the actual efiects of electrification on the diverse non-economic dimensions of quality of life (QoL). In a multi-disciplinary and cross-institutional efiort, a group of natural and social scientists have studied three electrification schemes (grid extension, centralised hybrid, and solar home systems) in four rural villages in Malaysia, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Using a novel approach with scales on several QoL measures (self-reported QoL and five QoL sub-domains; psychological, physical, social, and economic well-being; occupations; and total active time), this article presents an analysis of the efiects of rural electrification on human well-being. With original data surveyed in the villages through a baseline prior to electrification and an endpoint several months after, the efiects were examined through suitable statistical methods. Overall, we confirmed a positive efiect of electrification in self-reported QoL levels as well as psychological, physical, and social well-being. There was, however, a certain reduction recorded in economic well-being. In the sub-domains of QoL, there were no changes after electrification in satisfaction levels concerning time use, time spent alone, housing, and personal safety, but a positive efiect on satisfaction levels was observed in cooking. Finally, in terms of occupation, we observed no changes in the total hours dedicated to work and no prolonged active time on usual activities in the household. The findings provide support to the hypothesis of a positive efiect on general QoL from electrification, but also suggest more precisely that, for specific QoL sub-domains, the efiect might not necessarily exist, or in fact, may be negative. The article concludes by discussing difierences determined by cultural aspects and technological limitations in each of the systems under study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2410
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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