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Using repeat surveys to assess the impact of COVID‐19 on household energy use in Jharkhand, India

With Lisa Thompson (Emory), Johannes Urpelainen (Johns Hopkins), Carlos Gould (Columbia), and Morsel Research and Development (Uttar Pradesh, India)

India has undergone a dramatic household energy transformation in recent years, driven by government initiatives to increase clean fuel access. These improvements have not led to complete transitions to clean cooking, with most households continuing regular biomass use, a trend that may be exacerbated by the COVID‐19 pandemic. We leverage and extend a recently completed energy survey of 1440 households in rural Jharkhand by deploying a follow‐up, telephone‐based questionnaire multiple times over the next year, enabling analysis of how COVID‐19 and stay‐at‐home orders alter energy use behaviors. Findings from this longitudinal study will help (1) understand drivers of stacking or exclusive LPG or biomass use; (2) provide insights into how resilient household energy use patterns are to sudden economic and social shocks; and (3) establish guidance that may inform planning for the next pandemic or other unexpected shock.