The Chamber of Deputies introduced changes in the provisional measure establishing actions to combat the energy crisis. It is can cost nearly R$50 billion for Brazilian consumer citizens.
The government issued the provisional measure at the end of June. It presents exceptional measures to address the threat of energy rationing. In Congress, the MP’s rapporteur made changes and decided that the provisional measure will also serve to expand incentives provided for in another law, the privatization of Eletrobras.
When it approved the privatization of the state-owned company, Congress determined that the government should buy energy from thermoelectric plants powered by natural gas in the North, Northeast, Midwest and Southeast. In most of these areas, there are no thermoelectric plants, no gas reserves, and no gas pipelines. Experts say the projects are unfeasible because they raise the cost of energy.
The solution, according to the rapporteur, is that the cost of construction of the gas pipelines is included in the electricity tariff paid by consumers. The value would reach R$33 billion in 15 years of operation.
The rapporteur also extended the deadline for coal-fired thermoelectric plants to adopt a less polluting fuel. As coal exploration is subsidized, the measure represents an additional R$2.8 million.
The text also extends for another five years the contracts of small hydroelectric plants that produce more expensive energy. That’s R$700 million.
The report eliminates a benefit for the consumer in the renewal of contracts of companies that produce energy from alternative sources. The impact is R$ 10 billion. Total: R$46.5 billion.
The Association of Large Energy Consumers draws attention to the increase in cost throughout the chain.
“First, increase the energy bill. Second, it increases the price of Brazilian products that use energy. Third, it upsets the balance of the electricity sector. These are changes so significant that they would require perhaps even months of studies and assessments, which is what should happen in the normal bias of the electricity sector: decisions of this nature are guided by sector planning, and not transformed into political decisions”, says Paulo Pedrosa, president of the association.
Ten entities in the electricity sector signed a manifesto against the report. The provisional measure even entered the voting agenda in the plenary of the Chamber, but, due to criticism and lack of an agreement, the leaders postponed the vote.
The rapporteur, Adolfo Viana, says that it is possible to adjust the text so as not to burden the consumer.
“We are receiving suggestions and we are going to give even more clarity to this wording, to give peace of mind to the deputies and, mainly, to the Brazilian consumer. We are not going to increase the Brazilian consumer’s bill by R$ 0.01, says deputy Adolfo Viana, PSDB-BA.
The president of the Renewable Energies Front, deputy Danilo Forte, affirms that the report has points that represent a setback.
“It means, again, trying to push down our throats what was already rejected in the vote on the gas regulatory framework, what was rejected in the privatization of Eletrobras and, at the same time, throwing a bill to the consumer for something around R$ 46.5 billion. Now, they want the consumer to start paying to build a gas pipeline, which is a delay, especially in the Northeast, because we don’t need it”, says Deputy Danilo Forte, PSDB-CE.