Despite its widely recognized importance, electricity is not yet available everywhere, and there are many areas of the globe which still depend on alternative sources of energy such as wood, charcoal and kerosene. In contrast, the USA was the first country to be fully electrified. This article explores the current challenges faced by developing countries, presents the historical evidence from the USA and compares these experiences discussing the policy relevance of the comparison. Far from being a smooth process, the electrification process in the USA was a long and complex transition. The article analyses the challenges and policy responses that characterized the US electrification process. One of the outstanding features of these policies is that they are quite comprehensive and include subsidies and credit schemes, house ownership policies, mass media campaigns, the provision of adequate repair service and the direct involvement of women.

US electrification, challenges, developing countries, rural electrification,
ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Tasciotti, L, & Pellegrini, L. (2013). Rural Electrification Now and Then: Comparing Contemporary Challenges in Developing Countries to the USA's Experience in Retrospect. ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development. doi:10.1080/08039410.2012.732108