Consumers Will Have to Pay an Additional US$695 million to Avoid Electricity Blackouts

Government agency warns that lack of rain will limit the country's power generation capacity

São Paulo

The current energy crisis in Brazil will likely cost consumers more than R$3.6 billion (US$ 695 million) in additional costs to the electricity bill in order to avoid a blackout, estimates Abraceel (Brazilian Association of Energy Traders).

According to a statement from the National Electric System Operator (ONS), almost all the resources of the hydroelectric plants are expected to be exhausted by November, the end of the drought period.

The cost of keeping the thermal plants on and preventing the collapse of the hydroelectric system until the rainy season, at the end of the year, will be equal to the R$ 3.632 billion spent from January to May, estimates Abraceel. The amount is transferred to the consumer through the tariff flags.

"It is the most serious crisis in a century," says Reginaldo Medeiros, the association's executive president.

"There is not much to be done, besides using all available resources to avoid rationing. It will be more expensive, but nobody wants to be without electricity," he says.

The ONS raised the load forecast to a parameter considered more realistic and warned that the drought that hit the reservoirs could push the country's power generation capacity to the limit.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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