99% households have electricity but reliability a challenge

An estimated 99 percent of households in the country have access to electricity according to the Bhutan Living Standard Survey (BLSS) 2017 released this week.

In urban areas access to electricity is 100 percent and 98 percent in rural areas according to the survey. More than half the households without electricity in the rural areas stated lack of access and the service being expensive as some of the reasons for not having access.

Among the dzongkhags, electrification rates were lowest in Zhemgang and Haa. In other dzongkhags more than 98% of households had electricity. The use of solar power is highest in Gasa at 67 % and Wangdue Phodrang Dzongkhag with 8.2 %.

Meanwhile, reliability of electricity is still seen as a challenge for 58% of households. The frequency of power interruption is highest in rural areas, at 64.3%, as compared to the urban areas. The report states that majority of the households have experienced power interruption for less than a week followed by 16% of the households having had experienced power failure for one to two weeks.

Regarding the sources of energy for lighting, cooking and heating 25% of the households use bukhari for heating. Small proportions of households use kerosene or gas lamp as main source of lighting.

The survey found out that a higher proportion of urban households use electric heater for heating as compared to 10% of rural households. The use of traditional stove is comparatively higher among rural households.

In 2011 about 2,500 households used solar power.

Only 8% of the households use public transport almost every day, 25% indicated that they use it once a week while 44% use once a month according to the Bhutan Living Standard Survey 2017.

Less than one in four households have never used public transport.

The frequency of use of public transport is higher in urban areas with 16% of them using it almost every day, while only 3% of rural households use it on a daily basis.

On affordability, 7% of the service users rated it as bad indicating that affordability is an issue.

Banking, electricity, and telecom were the services most used by households.

Less than 1% used the crime, rescue and emergency and fire services during the last year.

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