A system that generates 70% of the country’s energy operates at one-fifth of its capacity

The water crisis has strongly compromised the generation of electricity, demanding efforts from the federal government and punishing the consumer’s pocket, who end up having to pay more on the bill.

The lack of rain drastically reduced the production capacity of the Southeast/Midwest System, the main subsystem of the National Electric System Operator (ONS), responsible for about 70% of the national hydroelectric generation.

The situation is worrying. The current usable volume is only 21.33%, slightly above a fifth of the total capacity.

The system brings together eight basins, which operate 20 reservoirs – eight of which, representing 40%, have a useful volume below 20%.

The data are part of an analysis of the metropolises, based on information compiled and released by the ONS. The critical situation led the contribution of hydroelectric plants to generation to plummet to the lowest level in history.

For example, the Itumbiara Hydroelectric Power Plant, in Goiás (featured photo and in the gallery below), operates with only 10.81% of capacity. She is the biggest in Furnas.


In a similar situation is the Emborcção Hydroelectric Power Plant, located on the border between Goiás and Minas Gerais, which operates at 11.48% of capacity (see situation of other basins below).

Hydroelectric plants operate at their lowest levels in 91 years, according to the federal government. The little water in the reservoirs affects all subsystems.

The Southern System has 27.6% of the capacity. Even with a level below the average, the reservoirs in the Northeast, which operate with 49.9% of the storage capacity, and in the Northern System, with 70.91%, have the best prospects.

pessimistic forecasts

The Chamber of Exceptional Rules for Hydroenergy Management (CREG) authorized the transfer of energy between the reservoirs to guarantee the supply of electricity to Brazilian consumers.

Mathematical projections from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) indicate that 2022 is expected to be even drier.

“The water situation, with the lack of rain in the right places, that is, in the reservoir basins, is, of course, very critical. The projections [para chuvas] are pessimistic. We are working with the continuation of the difficulties in the next year”, explains consultant Eduardo Menezes, who worked in supply companies.

more expensive light

The energy crisis centralizes concerns in the federal government. The Ministry of Mines and Energy and the National Electric Energy Agency (Anel) announced last week an increase in the tariff and changes in the National Interconnected System (SIN) to guarantee supply.

One of the actions directly affects the consumer. The creation of the “Water Scarcity Flag” will raise to R$ 14.20 the value of the extra fee for each 100 kWh consumed. The charge will be valid from September this year to April 2022.

“It is noteworthy that these actions aim to face the moment of water scarcity that has been experienced and that it is part of a set of other measures aimed at ensuring the continuity and safety of electricity supply in the country”, informs the Ministry of Mines and Energy, in note.

official version

The ONS, responsible for coordinating and controlling the operation of electricity generation and transmission facilities, claims that it has been following the situation.

“The ONS is taking all appropriate technical and operational measures to maintain the continuity of service to electricity consumers in Brazil, even considering the sensitive water situation”, he informs, in a note.