Red flag on the electricity bill will be increased by up to 58%

BRASILIA — The tariff flag, a surcharge that is triggered on electricity bills when the cost of energy generation increases, should rise from R$ 9.49 to between R$ 14 and R$ 15 as of September. The decision of the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) will be informed no later than next Tuesday. It will be an increase, therefore, between 50% and 58%.

The amount will be charged on red flag 2, the highest level of this system (which also has the colors green, yellow and red 1. The fee is charged for every 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed.

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The current value has been in effect since July, when there was a 52% increase, but the cost of power generation soared, requiring the new increase.

The matter was discussed at a meeting with several government representatives this week. According to participants at this meeting, the Ministry of Mines and Energy suggested raising the value of the banner to R$ 24, which would be more than double the increase, for a period of three months.

Proposal of the Economy folder prevailed

However, the Ministry of Economy’s proposal to charge a fee between R$14 and R$15 for a longer period, possibly of six months, prevailed. It will be a period to recover the reservoirs after the start of the wet season, at the end of the year.

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This Thursday, the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, mentioned the need to fill the hydroelectric reservoirs. Therefore, the folder defends a middle ground for charging, in order to maintain the rate for a longer time, paying the thermoelectric plants and recovering the dams.

Since April, Guedes’ ministry defends that the flag goes up, with this argument. But the flag only went up in July.

.  Photo: Creation O Globo
. Photo: Creation O Globo

The tariff flag is an additional levied on electricity bills to cover the cost of energy generation by thermoelectric plants, which occurs when the level of reservoirs at hydroelectric plants is very low.

The Center-South region of Brazil, which concentrates the main hydroelectric plants, is going through the worst drought in the last 91 years, according to the government. This makes the government use much more gas, oil and coal thermoelectric plants. More expensive (especially oil and coal-fired thermals), these plants work as an “insurance” to guarantee the energy supply.

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Activation of thermals

The cost of this insurance arising from the activation of thermal plants is fully passed on to electricity consumers.

Aneel defends the banners because, without it, all the extra cost would be passed on to consumers only in the following year, with corrected values. In other words, the consumer ended up paying interest, which does not happen with the activation of tariff flags.

The perception of the gravity of the water crisis has worsened in recent days. A new technical note from the National Electric System Operator (ONS) outlines a scenario of “degradation” in the level of storage of reservoirs and states that, without the “incorporation of additional resources”, there will be an electricity deficit in October and November of this year. year.

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This means that energy consumption tends to be greater than supply if there are no new energy generation units. That is, if there is no strong savings or additional source of energy, there is a great risk of blackout.

The ONS states that it is necessary to increase the energy supply by 5.5 GWmed to guarantee the supply of electricity from September 2021. To get an idea of ​​what this means, on Tuesday the country consumed around 73 GWmed of energy. In other words, it will be necessary to take measures to guarantee an additional 7% of energy.

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The months of July and August were the worst periods for the electricity sector in history, according to ONS data.

The government has been looking for new energy generation offers, such as thermal plants without a contract and ways to bring more fuel to these plants. These measures, however, have costs, and these costs end up being passed on to consumers.