Rejecting energy rationing, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, announced this Wednesday (25th) a plan of discounts on the electricity bill for regulated consumers (connected to distributors) residential and business who are voluntarily available to save energy.
The measure is expected to take effect in early September, but the ministry did not detail the plan. He said that, together with the agency, he is defining savings targets and premiums.
The plan hasn’t even been launched and is already causing criticism. For the former director of the ONS (National System Operator), Luiz Eduardo Barata, “voluntary reduction of residential consumer does not exist” “Either if you do something compulsory or the economy will be poor”, he told the sheet.
The minister, however, rules out any kind of rationing. In a press conference at the Ministry of Economy, right after the Creg meeting, a chamber formed by several ministries with the power to implement measures against the water crisis, Albuquerque explained that the situation has worsened and that, with the measures to reduce consumption, and preserve the water level in the hydroelectric reservoirs, it will be possible to guarantee supply until the end of the year — both approved by Creg.
Planalto Palace advisers believe that the adoption of rationing at the time would further harm Jair Bolsonaro in his campaign for reelection. The president sees his popularity plummet in the face of measures against the pandemic and the degradation of the economic scenario.
During the announcement of the new plan, the minister explained that he still does not know where the funds will come from to cover discounts on the electricity bills for residential and business consumers. Albuquerque stated, however, that there is no provision for extraordinary credit in the Budget for this measure.
The Electric Energy Secretary, Christiano Vieira, stated that the plan is similar to the consumption displacement program for large consumers, who will have financial compensation if they spend their energy outside peak hours.
Each company willing to make this arrangement will send an offer to the ONS (National System Operator) stating how much it intends to receive.
The ONS will choose the best proposals, precisely those that are more advantageous in relation to the activation of a thermoelectric plant, which generates a MWh for more than R$2,000.
“This difference is what will reduce the country’s overall energy generation cost,” said Vieira.
This logic, according to the secretary, will serve as a reference for the incentive plan for residential consumers. But the reference price for calculating this bonus was not detailed either.
The new plan comes at a time when Aneel (National Electric Energy Agency) is preparing to further raise red flag 2 tariffs, which, in July, rose 52%, to R$ 9.49 per 100 kWh (kilowatt hour).
Present at the announcement at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the agency’s general director, André Pepitone, said that Aneel is evaluating the result of the public consultation held in July on the possibility of a new readjustment in flag 2.
Asked, he did not even answer if there would be an increase. “We are studying [sem dizer o que exatamente].”
The price of energy was the factor that most influenced the increase in inflation measured by the IPCA. Of the eight percentage points of increase in the last twelve months, five were from energy.
Specialized consultants foresee the need for a further increase of up to 10% in red flag 2 as a way to offset the increase in generation costs due to the drought, the worst in the last 91 years. The ministry and Aneel also did not explain whether this increase in tariffs will be able to neutralize possible discounts arising from possible energy savings made by consumers.
The new plan to encourage the reduction of energy consumption for homes and smaller businesses is another step by the government to try to avoid blackouts in view of the worsening of the water crisis.
The general director of the ONS, Luiz Carlos Ciocchi, said that there was a forecast of rains in the southern region between July and August, but they were frustrated, which led the emergency monitoring group for the crisis to take more drastic measures to preserve water in the region. system and start with an incentive package to reduce consumption.
According to Ciocchi, it is still very difficult to predict what will happen next year, but the contracting of 22 GW of capacity and with the Northeast breaking “records after records” in wind and solar energy generation, the picture may be less bad. Albuquerque reinforced that there were 15 thousand kilometers of transmission lines, which will allow more energy exchange between the various regions of the country (or subsystems of the National Interconnected System).