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Estimation of elasticities for electricity demand in Brazilian households and policy implications

Pereira Uhr, Daniel de Abreu, Squarize Chagas, André Luis, Ziero Uhr, Júlia Gallego
Energy policy 2019 v.129 pp. 69-79
demand elasticities, electricity, electricity costs, energy, households, income elasticities, issues and policy, low income households, metropolitan areas, prices, regression analysis, surveys, tariffs, Brazil
This paper aims to identify the demand elasticity in energy consumption by Brazilian families. By using an original household-level sample, we are the first to identify the average price and income elasticities for Brazil. We also investigate heterogeneous effects across different quantiles through a Quantile Regression (QR) analysis. Finally, we extend the results of the QR analysis and combine them with aggregated data to assess the effects of two price policies, a cross-subsidy and the recently adopted "tariff flags." The primary data comes from the Household Budget Survey (POF) for two periods, 1998–99 and 2008–13, conducted in the metropolitan area of São Paulo. The price and income elasticities range from −0.46 to −0.56, and from 0.20 to 0.32 respectively. The QR results indicate that households’ behavioral response to a price increase is non-uniform across groups, and that the reaction is stronger for the lower quantiles. Additionally, “tariff flags” lead to a more significant reduction in consumption for the low-income residences, therefore representing a regressive policy. On the other hand, a cross-subsidy that increases the energy price to ordinary residences by 1% could mean a decrease in electricity prices of between 7.5% and 12.4% to low-income families.