the government sees a worsening of the scenario and seeks to reduce consumption

Measures to reduce consumption are a new priority for the federal government in the face of the current water crisis. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom / Agência Brasil

With a “significant worsening” of the scenario of the Brazilian electricity sector, the federal government is betting on new measures aimed at dealing with the water and energy crisis. From now on, the emphasis is on rationalizing consumption to reduce the speed of emptying hydroelectric reservoirs, which have been strongly impacted by the worst shortage in 91 years. Today, the reservation in the main subsystem, the Southeast / Midwest, is 22% of capacity, and could drop to 8% by year end.

This week, the supply conditions of the National Interconnected Network (SIN) were the subject of two extraordinary expertises: this Tuesday (24) and Wednesday (25), by the Electricity Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE) and the Chamber Exceptional Rules for the Management of Hydropower (CREG).

As the National Electricity Grid Operator (ONS) has occasionally underlined, and as in previous months, the condition is always “a deterioration in the scenarios observed and the outlook for the future, with a relevant deterioration, making it essential the adoption of all current measures and proposals ”. . The already dry period had not forecast rains for the southern region, for example, reinforcing the need to control the situation to avoid shortages.

Governance and energy supply measures have been on the authorities’ radar for months, but are now bolstered by pro-consumer actions – albeit with some delay, experts say. The easing of hydraulic restrictions, the relaxation of the criteria for transferring energy between regions and the increased use of additional sources to save the system’s “water reservoir” will be accompanied by programs starting in September. voluntary rationing (for industry and housing) and compulsory savings (in the public sector).

The first step taken by the federal government to reduce energy demand applies to large consumers, such as the processing industry. They will be able to choose to save energy on a voluntary basis in exchange for financial compensation. The voluntary demand reduction program, published this week in the Union’s Official Journal, still needs to be regulated, but it is the sector’s main challenge to take the drought into account.

Small residential consumers will also be called upon to save energy with the prospect of a bonus. According to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, a voluntary consumption reduction incentive program will be implemented from September 1, with a reduction on the electricity bill for those who collaborate. We do not yet know where the prize money will come from or what the objectives to be reached for the granting of the credit; and the rules were not published until the publication of this report.

These measures will depend on the will of the consumer, but compulsory rationing is already planned within the administration. From September also, public administrations will have to save between 10 and 20% of energy, as provided for in a decree published on Wednesday (25).

At an afternoon press conference, MME Energy Secretary Christiano Vieira stressed that the idea of ​​energy saving measures is to reward consumers who help ensure the cost of production, inflated by the need to fully activate the thermoelectric power plants. “With voluntary savings, we cannot commission plants that cost more than R $ 2,000 / MWh,” he said, referring to the most expensive thermal plants available.

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