100 participants located across six different mini-grid-connected villages were trained on the usage of electric pressure cookers (EPCs) and given EPCs connected to smart meters that monitored their usage.
This study concerns data from 100 users across six solar mini-grid sites in Tanzania that used electric pressure cookers as part of a fourteen month pilot conducted from March 2020 to May 2021. Users were initially cooking at cost-reflective tariffs, which were reduced in October due to regulatory changes. From January 2021 on, power restrictions were implemented across the sites in order to minimize losses for the utility.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
We found that EPC usage was largely affected by the price of electricity, which affected both demand and supply of electricity. The average active user cooked with their EPCs 1 time per week when the electricity tariff was high and 1.2 times per day when the tariff was low. As regulations decreased tariffs, EPC usage increased across all sites. Shortly after, power began to be restricted at sites, resulting in outages that limited EPC usage.
High levels of usage corresponded to reductions in emissions and savings in time spent cooking. At the peak usage period of the pilot, active users of the EPCs reduced their traditional cookstove usage and its associated CO2, indoor CO, and indoor PM emissions by 60% and saved nearly 2 hours of total cooking time each day.
The amount of EPC usage by a household at a high tariff level was not shown to have predictive power for how much the EPC would be used at a lower tariff level, implying that within this population there is no price-sensitivity factor that influences certain households‘ cooking behavior moreso than others.
Pilot data was used to create probability distributions for the likelihood that users would cook simultaneously or during a particular time of day. We found that in 52% of instances where someone began to use their EPC during the Low Tariff period, at least 4 other households were already cooking. During this same time period, 17% of cooking events occurred during night hours and 50% of cooking events happened between 10AM and 7PM.
Our research shows that many households have tangible interest in using electric cooking appliances and that these users can reap positive benefits from the appliance usage. The degree to which a user may access such benefits will depend on the broader context of their environment, such as the regulatory framework, grid design, and applicable electricity tariffs, and we find it likely that electric cooking appliance adoption will occur more rapidly in areas where there are already existing, favorable conditions. More research is needed to understand how specific policies and market conditions affect adoption.