Doing Business Reforms
MAKING ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY MORE EFFICIENT AND RELIABLE
World Bank Enterprise Survey data show that business owners in developing economies consider access to reliable electrical services to be the fourth largest obstacle to doing business. However, electricity sector constraints vary. A difficult connection process is associated with utility corruption and may hamper firms, while an unreliable electricity supply is linked to low firm productivity. Both an efficient connection process and safeguards to mitigate outage risks are crucial to business owners. Effective regulation and customer protections can provide predictability for firms, enabling them to better forecast risks.
Many economies aim to improve access to electricity as well as the quality of supply to strengthen the business operating environment for small and medium-size enterprises. Doing Business 2019 recorded reforms in 26 economies making it easier to get electricity.
Improvement of the connection process was a common feature of reforms making it easier to get electricity in 2017/18. Regulatory changes that reduce the number of required interactions between the utility or other third parties and customers when they apply for an electricity connection are an effective way to improve the connection process. China digitalized applications for new grid connections and allowed online payments while eliminating the utility's external site visit (Beijing). As a result, the total time to obtain a connection was reduced dramatically, from 143 days in 2016/17 to 32 days in 2017/18. Niger increased the stock of material the utility carries and allowed the internal wiring conformity certificate to be obtained simultaneously with the external connection works. The Russian Federation upgraded single window portals in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The United Arab Emirates eliminated connection costs altogether.
Thirteen economies, a record number, also implemented reforms in 2017/18 that improved the reliability of power supply. Notably, six economies in Sub-Saharan Africa—Angola, Gabon, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Togo—began collecting data to compute the system average interruption duration index (SAIDI) and the system average interruption frequency index (SAIFI). By measuring power outages from the perspective of customers, these economies are now better able to address reliability issues on their networks.
GETTING ELECTRICITY REFORMS BY ECONOMY DB2008-DB2019