The National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) announced this Tuesday (31) the creation of a new tariff flag on the electricity bill, called the water scarcity flag. The extra fee will be R$ 14.20 for every 100 kilowatt-hours (KWh) consumed and will be effective as of September 1st, and will remain in effect until April of next year.
The new level represents an increase of R$4.71, about 50%, compared to the red flag level 2, until then the highest level, in the amount of R$9.49 per 100 kWh.
The decision was taken in the midst of the hydrological crisis that affects the level of reservoirs at hydroelectric plants, the main source of electricity generation in the country. According to the federal government, it is the worst drought in 91 years. With hydroelectric plants operating at their limit, it is necessary to increase the generation of electricity through thermoelectric plants, which have a higher cost.
The Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, guaranteed that the measures are sufficient to guarantee the offer.
“We are working to have sufficient supply to meet the demand of all consumer units in the country. We are witnessing the biggest drought that the country, Brazil, has ever experienced. And this is reflected in the capacity of our hydroelectric power plant reservoirs,” he said during press conference to announce the new measures in Brasilia.
Also according to the minister, the measures that have been adopted so far are having an effect, but the situation is still far from normal. “We are in better conditions than we were at the beginning of August. And this shows that the measures are having an effect, but still do not bring us to a situation of normality or even comfort, that’s why we are adopting all these demands “.
According to Aneel, even with the recent readjustment of the tariff flags, including the creation of level 2 of the red flag, in June, the extra collection to cover the increase in energy generation is still insufficient. The deficit in the tariff flags account is at R$5.2 billion. In addition, Brazil will need to import energy from neighboring countries, at a cost of R$8.6 billion.
“We have to have additional generation to face the water shortage. This additional generation includes the import of energy from Argentina and Uruguay, additional thermoelectric generation”, explained André Pepitone, general director of Aneel, at a press conference to announce the new measures.
All consumers in the captive market of electricity distributors will be covered by the new tariff flag, with the exception of residents of Roraima, the only state that is not connected to the National Interconnected System (SIN) and the approximately 12 million families enrolled in the Tariff program Social Electricity.
According to Aneel, as the average bill rate is BRL 60 per 100 kWh, resulting in a final bill of BRL 69.49, in the case of red flag level 2 incidence (BRL 9.49), the value of the electricity bill with the new water scarcity flag will be, on average, 6.78% more expensive, reaching R$ 74.20 (R$ 60 average tariff + extra fee of R$ 14.20 for the new tariff).
The Ministry of Mines and Energy also gave more details about the Voluntary Electricity Reduction Program, aimed at so-called regulated consumers, which include companies.
The government will pay a premium of R$50 per 100 kWh reduced. The reduction threshold is at least 10%, limited to 20%. The expectation of the paste is to obtain an average reduction of 15% in consumption. If this happens, the expectation is to reduce energy demand by an average of 914 megawatt hour (mWh), a volume of energy sufficient to supply 4 million homes and representing around 1.41% of the load of the National Interconnected System. The program will last until the end of next year.
Low-income citizens registered in the social tariff will also be able to participate in the Incentive Program for the Voluntary Reduction of energy consumption.