The Rural Electrification Board of Bangladesh has been providing service to rural member consumers for over 34 years. Continued support from the Government of Bangladesh, the donor community, consulting partners, and member consumers will help this program continue to expand, providing the gift of electricity to millions more Bangladeshi households, businesses, and industries.
The Bangladesh Rural Electrification (RE) Program was founded with a Presidential Ordinance in October 1977 that established the Rural Electrification Board (REB) as the semi-autonomous government agency reporting to the Ministry of Power Energy and Minerals Resources. This was responsible for electrifying rural Bangladesh. Since its inception, the purpose of the program has been to use electricity as a means of creating opportunities for improving agricultural production and enhancing socio-economic development in rural areas, whereby there would be improvements in the standard of living and quality of life for the rural people.
Today there are 70 operating rural electric cooperatives called Palli Bidyuit Samity (PBS), which bring service to approximately 92,80,785 new connection being made and more than 2,38,711 kms of line has been constructed.
Enormous changes have occurred in areas all across rural Bangladesh due to people having access to electricity. The magnitude of changes and the impact of the RE Program is vast and diversified and information documenting these have become more acute in recent years. All stakeholders, particularly the Government of Bangladesh and the development partners need documentation that supports the large funding requirements that are needed to expand the program further. Given these circumstances, decisions were taken to have this “Economic and Social Impact Evaluation Study of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Program”. This Study was begun in March 2002 with the selection of the Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), an established Bangladeshi consulting firm.
This eight-month Study involved more than 100 male and female qualified enumerators, as well as a number of data quality controllers. Working to collect quantitative and qualitative data through the completion of questionnaires during the interview of 378 cases in more than 70 villages/thanas in both electrified and non electrified areas of 23 different PBSs dispersed across the country. in addition, the fieldwork also included 27 “focus group discussion” and nine “group discussion with the PBS Board and Members”. The four major categories of consumer’s namely domestic, commercial, irrigation and industry were included when preparing the sampling sizes for both experimental and control groups. Fourteen different instruments are designed, field tested, and used for the information collection phases of the Study.