The water crisis this year has already made the electricity bill more expensive, due to the additional fee to cover the cost of thermal plants, but the annual adjustments also weighed. Since January, tariffs for residential consumers have risen, on average, by 7.15%. And the trend is for the worse. Preliminary calculations by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) indicate that tariffs may rise, on average, 16.68% in 2022, in the midst of an electoral dispute.
Aneel has already updated the rates of 30 distribution concessionaires, which serve 16 states. Consumers in some municipalities in São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Paraná, served by Energisa Sul Sudeste, had the highest increase so far: 11.29%. Residents served by Cemig, in Minas Gerais, and by Sulgipe, which serves the municipalities in Sergipe and Bahia, did not have readjustments this year or the bills were slightly cheaper, respectively.
Among the main factors for the rise in tariffs are sector charges, expenses with energy purchase and transport, the effects of the IGP-M (since several distributors have contracts linked to the price index) and exchange rates.
Although accentuated, especially at a time when the account is already pressured by the costs of thermal plants, the readjustments could have been greater. Aneel approved a package of measures to “hold” the readjustments – and is considering doing the same in 2022.
Among the actions are the abatement of tax credits improperly charged to consumers, the postponement of the payment of indemnities to transmission companies and the remuneration of distributors, and the use of resources that would be allocated to research and development (R&D) and energy efficiency programs .
In a public hearing at the Chamber last week, the regulatory agency’s Tariff Management superintendent, Davi Antunes Lima, explained that the forecast increase in 2021, due to the pandemic and energy costs, was R$29.57 billion – which would result in readjustments in the range of 18%. With the measures, costs were reduced to R$ 18.83 billion. “Aneel is very sensitive in relation to the electricity tariff. We make great efforts to try to mitigate these tariff impacts,” he stated.
“Pushing” expenses, however, could cause the bill to skyrocket in coming years. “Aneel is throwing forward a series of increases as has been happening this year, since May, is not good, it deceives the consumer, who pays less for something that is known to cost more. Given the current crisis, we have practically more than 20% contracted if the crisis continues as it is”, evaluated the former director of the agency Edvaldo Santana.
The coordinator of the Energy and Sustainability Program at the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Protection (Idec), Clauber Leite, considers the relief at this time positive and an “encouragement” for the population, since the cost of energy is highly representative for families poorer. He defends, however, that measures be studied so that, in fact, there is a reduction in the bills, and not postponements of costs and that do not imply an excessive increase later.
“For example, the ICMS (Tax on Circulation of Goods and Services) is one of the great costs of tariffs, it is levied on the charges, on the brand, it leaves the consumer in a position where they don’t have much to do, it reduces the purchasing power,” he stated.
Tariffs are adjusted on a case-by-case basis on the “anniversary” of each distributor’s contract, and the established percentages are different. Several factors are considered to define the value: the costs of generation, transmission, charges and even technical or non-technical losses – known as “cats”. The percentages also vary for each type of consumer: readjustment at one level for those connected to high voltage, such as large industries, at another level for those connected to low voltage, such as commerce and homes.
The information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.