The large volume of rain that fell in Minas Gerais in the first days of January helped to recover the level of some reservoirs of hydroelectric plants in the state. Despite this, there will not be an immediate reduction in the electricity tariff, as the reservoirs in other regions of the country have not yet recovered to normal levels.
The Minas Gerais Energy Company (Cemig) informed that this Friday (1/14) the opening of floodgates at the Trs Marias Hydroelectric Power Plant will begin to control the volume caused by the constant rains since the beginning of January.
“Three Marias is an exception. It is located in the Central Region of Minas Gerais and is a very small reservoir in the Southeast. When looking at the Southeast Region as a whole, the reservoirs are only at 34.52% of their capacity. They are at better levels than last year, but they are not full”, explains Walter Fres, CEO of CMU Comercializadora de Energia.
According to him, Belo Horizonte recorded rains far above average. But in other cities in the Southeast and Midwest regions, the rains are exactly above the historical average for January. “Last year, for example, the historical average did not rain. We started the year worse than we are going to start this year. The month of greatest affluence is February. Continuing as it is – and the prognosis is favorable – with the rains being good as in January, we should arrive with reservoirs above 50%, maybe 60% of capacity by the end of February. a good level to start the year.”
With that, Fres believes that we should have a better year in terms of energy prices.
Water scarcity flag maintained until April
The federal government does not plan to bring forward the end of the water scarcity banner, which charges an additional R$ 14.20 for every 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) from consumers. It was created in August of last year due to the water crisis and should remain until April, despite the heavy rains recorded in several regions of the country, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The banner was established to cover the costs of generating energy by thermoelectric plants, activated to preserve the level of the reservoirs. It covers the costs of the system last year and not this year, at the beginning of the mid-period.
Raimundo Batista, managing partner of Enecel Energia Comercialização e Consultoria Energtica, compares the use of thermoelectric plants with that of overdraft. “You stopped making the expense, but the bill has to be paid. The thermal plants continued to work and were shut down recently. There is a bill that needs to be paid due to the energy crisis.”
He believes that the decision to extend the water shortage tariff until April could be a strategy to try to recover the distributors’ cash. “Distributors are those that normally finance consumers and then recover from the tariff.
For Silvia Brunelli Machado, engineer, specialist in financial planning, it may be a government strategy to control consumption, “since every time they revert to the previous tariff, in this case the red tariff, people start consuming again. Quickly that leftover ends up going away.”
According to her, the effect of the rains is not immediate. “There is no rain and we immediately have enough left over in the reservoirs to guarantee another six months, for example. I believe that when we have enough reservoirs for six to eight months, the tariff should be revised.”
She also recalls that despite the rains in the Southeast Region, the rest of the country does not experience the same reality. “Even in Bahia, the rain was not enough to reach satisfactory levels.”
Batista also explains that the reservoirs take a few years to recover the average condition and return to maximum levels (above 90%).
“In Minas, we have the Emborcao, Itumbiara and So Simo hydroelectric plants that absorb what comes from the Paranaba River. We have another large reservoir in Araguari and Nova Ponte. These reservoirs, mainly Emborcao and Nova Ponte, will not be able, even with this rain, to reach very high levels. They would need another cycle as good as this one to get to 85% to 90%.”
According to him, the reservoirs need two to three years to recover when their maximum capacity levels are used.
Batista believes that, by the end of January, the reservoirs will already be at a good level, considering the situation last year. “It may be that in March, the levels are good enough to allow the green flag for the rest of the year.”
“The reservoirs will be at a much better level than last year and several previous years, as projected. This can provide a very good energy supply condition for the system, which would no longer need the water scarcity flag. Especially if the government maintains this thermal policy until April,” he adds.
Fres also shares the same opinion. “If we have a lot of rain in February, it may bring the end of the water scarcity flag.”
Conscious use of energy
Silvia emphasizes that consumers must learn to make a conscious use of electricity. “We Brazilians have terrible energy consumption habits. We need to change in the long term to avoid that, every time we have a water crisis in the reservoirs, we are penalized so much.”
She states that consumers are only concerned about excessive consumption when the energy tariff increases.
“We only start to be aware when it weighs in our pocket. Why is it that when we are at the green and yellow flags, no one asks how to save energy? When the fare decreases, we stop paying attention.”
Suspension of the water shortage tariff in Minas
On the afternoon of this Thursday (1/13), the governor of Minas Gerais, Romeu Zema (Novo), informed that he asked the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, to suspend the flag of water scarcity for the state.
“I sent the Minister of Mines and Energy a request to suspend the Red Flag of Water Scarcity on the electricity bill in our state. At this time of economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic, aggravated by the crisis of state finances, in which we are hit by rains that cause a true scenario of war, solidarity with emergency miners. We cannot be penalized with the cost determined by the Hydroenergetic Management Chamber and applied by ANEEL”, he said in a post on social media.
*Intern under the supervision of sub-editor Eduardo Oliveira