Targeting Assistance: Electricity Consumption is a Superior Method

As Sri Lanka’s crisis continues, up to 50% or more of the population is likely to need state support, however current targeting through Samurdhi reaches just about a quarter of all households and only 40% of the poorest individuals. As such, this background note by the Verité Research Sri Lanka Economic Policy Group recommends household electricity use as a determinant of eligibility for welfare benefits.

Household electricity usage is a good proxy for poverty and a quick, efficient, and effective targeting mechanism. A threshold of 60kwh per month is proposed as a preliminary eligibility criteria which will reach approximately 50% of the population and over 80% of the poorest among them.