Experts estimate that the government has been slow to acknowledge the seriousness of the lack of rain and to take effective action against the energy crisis. The new tariff flag came into effect on Wednesday (1).
Since October 2020, the low level of hydroelectric reservoirs has already attracted attention. That’s when the government started activating more thermal power plants to help produce energy.
Throughout 2021 there was no recovery. Averages in reservoirs remained low. The forecast of the national system operator is even more worrying: that in November, the main tanks will reach 10% of capacity. Even in the face of this scenario, the government has only now taken drastic measures to try and reduce the energy consumption of resident consumers and small businesses.
One of them, the new science of water scarcity, is already in effect. Enter the place of the red flag. The surcharge will rise from R$9.49 to R$14.20 for every 10 kWh consumed. The increase in accounts will be about 7%.
The government has also ordered Eletrobras to deposit R$5 billion up front in 2022 into the Energy Development Account, which is used, for example, to give cuts to the electricity bill for low-income consumers. To encourage lower consumption, it announced a kind of bonus for those who were able to reduce their bills from September to December 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
The science of water scarcity is not applied to large consumers, such as industries, for example. For this sector, the government has launched a voluntary program to reduce consumption.
In expert opinion I’ve heard before National newspaperThe measures introduced by the government arrive late. It should have been approved at least three months ago. According to them, the result of this delay is now facing a much greater risk of power failure due to system overload.
The government has taken some time to act. The government also erred when it said that legalization is not being considered. Technically, when you have a rainfall regime that doesn’t match the average, you have to look ahead. This is the role of those who plan, that is, you start working with scenarios where there are risks, and especially when you do the risk analysis, you see the consequences of what happens if those risks materialize,” says David Zylbersztajn, PUC Professor Rio.
On August 25, the Minister of Mines and Energy confirmed that there would be no rationing: “I will repeat quite calmly that we are not working with the premise of rationing,” Minister Pinto Albuquerque said at the time.
But he showed on Tuesday (31) that the crisis may require new measures.
“Photography today is this. We cannot predict the future. We believe that these actions are sufficient and we monitor the system permanently. We also have to have fluidity in the system, balance in the system. That is why these actions are implemented and will be carried out as necessary in order to reduce the cost of energy.” If you reduce the cost of energy, we will lower the tariff. And everything indicates that we are on the right track,” he said.
On Wednesday (1), Vice President Hamilton Muraw did not rule out legalization.
“The government took the necessary measures, set up a committee to monitor and make decisions in a timely manner to prevent what I said, that there is a blackout happening. Now, there may be some rationing. The decision makers had all the data available, and if they didn’t make a tougher decision earlier, It’s because the risk analysis they did, it wasn’t like that. I see it that way.”
The risk of blackouts is real, says Marcus Freitas, a professor at UFRJ.
“The risks of the blackout are real and tangible. Not now, but it might be November or something. I think, right now, the biggest risk is economic: some of the investments that are going to be made in Brazil, the returns from sectors that have been suffering because of Covid, and now, With the development of vaccination, they have been discouraged by lack of energy or for economic reasons,” says Marcus Freitas.
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