A document prepared by entities linked to the electricity sector defends the return of daylight saving time as an emergency measure to face the energy crisis. The associations also preach that, in the long term, the government should prioritize the encouragement of energy efficiency to reduce the risk of new crises.
Daylight saving time was abolished in 2019 by President Jair Bolsonaro, under the argument that it no longer guaranteed great energy savings while causing inconvenience to workers, especially those who depend on public transport at dawn.
With the worsening of the energy crisis, however, support has been growing in recent months for the return of the program, which postpones the end of the day by one hour, ensuring better use of natural lighting at times of high demand for electricity.
Tourism entities such as CNTur and Feturismo, the restaurant sector and, later, the shopping malls have already manifested themselves in favor. On Monday, support was reinforced by Idec (Consumer Defense Institute), ICS (Climate and Society Institute), Iei (International Energy Intiative), Mitsidi Projetos and Healthy Hospitals.
“The gain is small, but right now we need to count megawatt per megawatt,” said former director of the ONS (National Electric System Operator) Luiz Eduardo Barata, who has been working with the ICS and Idec to assess the crisis and performance government to face it.
The group of entities says that daylight saving time would save between 2% and 3% of consumption in the early evening, reducing the need to activate more expensive thermal plants that currently put pressure on the electricity bill.
Barata recalls that the ONS itself was against the end of daylight saving time, but the argument prevailed that the economy had been reducing as the peak of summer consumption shifted to mid-afternoon, when a greater number of devices of air conditioning are turned on.
“One of the arguments is that we saved R$ 400 million and started to save R$ 100 million,” said Barata. “But now, if we save R$1 million, that’s good.” He emphasizes that the decision must be quick, since the implementation of the program requires adjustments in various economic activities.
The entities released a document in which they propose greater government attention to energy efficiency initiatives, as a structural measure to improve the security of the Brazilian electricity sector. The assessment is that Brazil lags behind developed countries on the subject.
For them, successive governments have been negligent with the issue, which only comes up in the midst of supply crises. For the coordinator of the ICS, Kamyla Borges, the programs of this type should be unified under one management, to ensure greater effectiveness.
The entities also ask for an update of efficiency standards in air conditioning and refrigerators, with a campaign for consumers to buy more efficient equipment.
If the update periodicity had been maintained, says the ICS, Brazil would be saving about 1,100 average MW, almost the capacity of the GNA 1 thermal plant in the north of Rio de Janeiro, whose operations should be anticipated to help fight the crisis.
By way of comparison, the voluntary consumption reduction program by large companies will save 237 MW in September, the total volume of offers approved this Monday by the CMSE (Electrical Sector Monitoring Committee).
“Energy efficiency should also be seen as an industrial policy, because it brings productivity to the industry and brings competitiveness to the Brazilian economy”, says Borges.