THE Ministry of Development Planning this week kicked off a pilot survey on household energy consumption patterns in conjunction with the Bureau of Statistics (BOS).
The survey, which is being held in Maseru’s urban, peri-urban and rural areas, is meant to prepare for a national survey scheduled for July this year.
According to the Ministry of Development Planning’s Public Relations Officer, Mpho Mosili, the survey’s main purpose was to gather baseline energy data for planning purposes and to inform policy making by the government.
“The 2017 Household Energy Consumption Survey (HECS) is an exercise of collecting data on consumption of energy commodities at the household level,” she said in an interview with Lesotho Times this week.
“The data is collected based on energy used within the household.”
Ms Mosili said the survey was the first of its kind in the country and would henceforth be held every five years.
“Since the survey will establish energy usage at household level, the provision of up-to-date and reliable data will contribute to the general improvement of lives for the Basotho nation,” she said.
“For instance, the Ministry of Energy needs to know energy consumption behavior of households in certain areas in order to make informed decisions on electricity connections.”
Ms Mosili indicated that during the survey, enumerators would visit each household for two successive days in order to take measurements of energy sources used for cooking in the morning, afternoon and evening. Inhabitants will also indicate their energy sources for lighting and heating.
She said the pilot survey would help the ministry to determine and prepare for the likely challenges ahead of the national survey.
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“The pilot is necessary to inform us on the likely challenges we may encounter during execution of the main survey. So, it is going to help us better plan for the main survey,” Ms Mosili said.
According to the 2009-2011 Energy Balance Report by BOS, Lesotho is highly depends on biomass fuels to meet basic needs such as cooking and heating especially in rural areas.
It further states that Lesotho does not have any proven resource base for fossil fuels and relies heavily on imports to meet the demand for these energy carriers. On the other hand, there is potential for environmentally-cleaner renewable sources of energy that require extensive exploitation.
The Lesotho Energy Policy 2015-2025 also shows that the country has maintained local generation at around 72 megawatts while demand continues to increase.
“By end of 2013, electricity imports met more than 50 percent of the electricity consumption in Lesotho. While Lesotho associates herself with the United Nations Initiative on Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) Goals, the household connection rate was recorded as 34 percent in 2014,” the policy further states.