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Brazil braces for more power blackouts
February 14, 2014, 4:38 am

A worker walks in the generator axe room in the Itaipu dam, the world's second-largest hydroelectric power producer in Brazil. The 25-year-old dam provides about 20 per cent of Brazil's electricity, and was the largest producer of electricity in the world until China's Three Gorges dam recently surpassed it [AP]

A worker walks in the generator axe room in the Itaipu dam, the world’s second-largest hydroelectric power producer. The 25-year-old dam provides about 20 per cent of Brazil’s electricity, and was the largest producer of electricity in the world until China’s Three Gorges dam recently surpassed it [AP]

Ahead of one of the world’s biggest sporting events, the Football World Cup, the Brazilian government has admitted for the first time to the possibility of more blackouts, a report in the local daily O Globo said on Thursday.

Brazil’s Committee for Energy Monitoring (CMSE) released a statement earlier Thursday, in which it admits to a “very low” possibility of the problems in Brazil’s energy distribution system.

The country faced a massive blackout on February 4 that affected three regions, striking 13 states and the capital city Brasilia and affecting some 6 million people. Some other minor blackouts have affected Espirito Santo state over the past few days.

Brazil’s power regulator Aneel said earlier this week that certain regions may need to reduce power consumption by as much as 5 per cent.

Some 70 percent of Brazil’s energy comes from hydroelectric power plants, leaving the country vulnerable to dry seasons and depleted reservoirs.

But the CMSE stressed that, unless several other dry seasons are as bad as the current one, there will be no problems in the country’s energy supply.

Given Brazil’s energy production capacity, the CMSE said, the country’s production and distribution system is “balanced” and can feed the anticipated power demand this year.

Several regions in Brazil are currently facing a shortage of rain – in Rio, for example, it has not rained in four weeks – which leads to the lower water level in several dams.

Besides affecting the energy distribution, a long dry spell could endanger the water supply as well.

However, to add to the inflation woes of the Dilma Rousseff administration, electricity regulator ANEEL on Tuesday proposed a 4.6 per cent increase in rates paid by consumers to help cover power subsidies.

In 2013, Rousseff made a deal with power utilities to slash electricity prices.

Source: Agencies

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