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Coping with Power Scarcity in an Emerging Megacity: A Consumers’ Perspective from Hyderabad

Facing rapid urbanisation in developing countries, public utilities’ electricity management is challenged by an ever-growing demand and collapsing infrastructures. Economic growth and consumers’ related behaviours add to the technical and governance problems. We analyse the ways in which consumers currently deal with power shortages in Hyderabad, India, finding consumers trapped in a typical social-dilemma situation in which individually rational behaviour produces undesirable collective outcomes. Results from a logistic regression show us the key factors, determining household preferences to contribute towards better electricity services provision and the undertaking of collective action in this regard. We find that the ability to contribute is significantly affected by age, social background, backup facilities, inadequate supply and voltage fluctuations. Willingness to cooperate mainly depends on experiences with damaged appliances and past group membership. The paper ends with conclusions for governance, policies, and further research.