Vale maintains action and resists returning BRL 500 million from the plant stopped

After signaling that it would end a legal dispute with the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel), mining company Vale decided to keep the fight in court, in addition to the monthly charge for a hydroelectric plant it owns that has not delivered energy since 2015 .

Vale has already received more than R$500 million since November 2015, for a generation of energy that it has never delivered from the turbines of its Risoleta Neves hydroelectric plant, in the region of Mariana (MG), because the plant was destroyed by the mud from the tragedy. of Samarco, which has Vale itself as a partner.

The situation causes anger throughout the electricity sector, because payments have been made monthly since then, and are shared among the owners of all other hydroelectric plants in the country, in addition to energy consumers.

In May, after this situation was denounced in a report by the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, Vale met with representatives from Aneel and the Chamber of Deputies. The company, which had been summoned to provide clarification on the matter in Congress, managed to suspend the hearing, on the grounds that it would give up the lawsuit it filed to continue receiving payments for energy it does not produce. In addition, the company was also willing to return the entire amount received.

On the occasion, the agreement was signed by the general director of Aneel, André Pepitone, who participated in the meeting with the company. “We are dealing with a proposal for an agreement formulated by Vale in the judicial process. Aneel sees this with enthusiasm, as we managed to eliminate yet another judicialization in the sector,” Pepitone told the reporter at the time.

It turns out that the process is more alive than ever and it already has a date to go back to trial. The case reached the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) and is scheduled to be settled on September 15th.

In October 2020, the president of the STJ, Minister Humberto Martins, who is the rapporteur of the case, even rejected an Aneel appeal that questions the payments to the company and maintained the transfers required by Vale. Aneel appealed again and the case is under discussion at the Special Court, which brings together 15 ministers.

In addition to the process being underway, Vale also continues to receive monthly amounts, even after the agreement was reached with Aneel and parliamentarians in May.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGU) has already manifested itself in the process as an assistant to Aneel, pointing out “serious damage to the economic, legal and institutional order, concerning the Brazilian electricity sector”, but nothing can deter the company.

Sought by the report, Aneel declined to comment on the matter.

Vale declared, through a note, that “discussions with representatives of the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) on the situation of the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant (UHE) are advanced and the negotiations will still be subject to approval between the parties.” “Vale reaffirms its commitment to maintaining the integrity of the national energy system.”

A term of commitment was even presented by Vale to Aneel and the Electric Energy Trading Chamber (CCEE), which makes the financial adjustments for the sector, but the proposal was seen as one more way to remove or alleviate Vale’s financial responsibilities about the case. Because of that, there is no agreement.

Hydroelectric plant stopped working in 2015

The Risoleta Neves hydroelectric plant belongs to the Candonga consortium, in which Vale owns 77.5% and Cemig, 22.5%. The plant stopped operating in November 2015, when Samarco was the protagonist in one of the biggest environmental tragedies on the planet.

The hydroelectric plant was located in the path of the Fundão dam, which broke and caused the death of 19 people, with the release of thousands of tons of iron ore tailings over the forest and the Doce River. The mud swept 40 municipalities, until it reached the Atlantic, on the coast of Espírito Santo.

The total shutdown of the hydroelectric plant naturally led Aneel to ask for the suspension of payments to the Risoleta Neves plant, as it could not generate more energy.

Vale, however, not only appealed the agency’s administrative proceeding, but also went to court and got a decision that maintains, until today, the payment to the Candonga consortium, so that it continues to receive normally, through transfers made by a mechanism accounting of the electricity sector that is shared by all hydroelectric plants in the country.