The tariff flag, a surcharge that is triggered on electricity bills when the cost of energy generation increases, will rise from R$ 9.49 to an amount 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 (31). It will be an increase, therefore, between 50% and 58%.
The amount will be charged from red flag 2, the highest level in this system (which also has the colors green, yellow and red 1). The fee is charged for every 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed.
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.
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.
This Thursday, the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, mentioned the need to fill the hydroelectric reservoirs.
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.
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.