Many developing countries in Africa face a “double tragedy” when it comes to electrification. Electricity access rates are low, while those who have access to electricity face frequent outages. There are ongoing efforts aimed at increasing access to electricity on the continent. However, the need to improve the reliability of electricity supply receives limited attention. Unreliable electricity impacts users by limiting electricity utilization and the benefits that should accrue from having an electricity connection. Using data from 496 household survey questionnaires, this study examines the impacts of electricity outages in urban households in Accra, Ghana. The study applies correlation and regression analyses to identify which household characteristics are associated with or predict households reporting outage impacts. Outages were found to impact household safety/security, access to food, and access to social services and were found to cause appliance damage as well. Factors that are significantly correlated with reporting certain outage impacts include respondent’s annual income and employment status, frequency of electricity outages, and household size. Significant predictors of reporting outage impacts are socioeconomic disadvantage, high exposure to outages, and living in a large family setting. The study’s findings underscore the need for interventions to eliminate, or at least minimize, electricity supply interruptions in developing countries if sustainable social and economic development is to be achieved.
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