The damming of tariffs in 2020 and 2021, due to the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and water scarcity, corresponds to about 50% of the readjustments in electricity bills recently authorized by the National Electric Energy Agency (Aneel) for eight States. The increases range from 15% to 25%.
The calculation was presented this Thursday (12) by the president of the Brazilian Association of Electric Energy Distributors (Abradee), Marcos Madureira, in debate at the Mines and Energy Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. The meeting discussed the adjustment in force since April on invoices for consumers in Ceará.
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“Basically, all the readjustments that we will have in 2022 are costs that are coming from previous years”, said Madureira. In Brazil, estimated Abradee, R$ 28.34 billion were not transferred to electricity bills in 2020 and 2021.
During the debate, Aneel’s Tariff Management superintendent, Davi Antunes Lima, explained that, in the case of Enel Distribuidora Ceará, the 24.85% readjustment in tariffs incorporated 11.42 percentage points retained in the past due to the financial difficulties of families and the lack of rain in the reservoirs.
Lima said similar measures to mitigate increases in electricity bills had been adopted in several states. He highlighted that, if the government of Ceará adopts a temporary reduction in ICMS on electricity bills, maintaining the same amount collected in 2021, there would be a 5% discount for the consumer.
The Chamber has already approved urgently the Draft Legislative Decree (PDL) 94/22, by deputy Domingos Neto (PSD-CE), which suspends Aneel’s authorization for the readjustment of electricity in Ceará. Another proposal (PDL 123/22), by deputy Danilo Cabral (PSB-PE), aims to avoid the 18.98% increase in Pernambuco.
According to Domingos Neto, the idea is to stop readjustments in several states and “zero the game”, making room for solutions. “There were abusive readjustments, 20% in Alagoas; 21% in Bahia; 17% in Mato Grosso do Sul; and 20% in Rio Grande do Norte”, he commented. “And I already warn the miners: there will be an increase on May 22,” he said.
In the Mines and Energy Commission, there were reactions to the hypothesis of cancellation of these readjustments. According to Anton Schwyter, representative of the Brazilian Institute for Consumer Protection (Idec) in the debate, “increases of this magnitude increase household defaults, but postponing them multiplies the problem ahead”.
Representative of the Association of Large Industrial Consumers of Energy and Free Consumers (Embrace), Victor Iocca assessed that another damming would be harmful, since interest rates in the country are rising. “Delaying readjustments is like paying the minimum on your credit card bill, and leaving it for the future is worse.”
The Assistant Secretary for Electric Energy at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Domingos Romeu Andreatta, warned that changes in tariff formulas could bring legal uncertainty, with risk for investments in the sector.
The president of the Electric Sector Associations Forum (Fase), Mário Menel, rejected untimely measures. For him, in the medium and long term, it will be necessary to reduce taxes and subsidies on electricity bills, which currently account for 49% of total bills. “Congress approves the subsidies, and Aneel is not to blame,” he analyzed.
The president of Enel Distribuidora Ceará, Márcia Sandra Silva, reported that, by March, 200,000 families were entitled to the lower social tariff for electricity. The low-income customer base grew 28% to 910 thousand. This is because Law 14,203/21, in force since January, provides for the automatic entry into this subsidy of any beneficiary of federal social programs.
Debaters supported Senate Bill 414/21 as a possible alternative for the electricity sector in Brazil. The text expands the free electricity market for all consumers – including residential ones, which are currently excluded. A special committee of the Chamber was created in March to analyze the proposal.
Deputy Danilo Forte (União-CE), who suggested the public hearing and presides over the Parliamentary Front in Defense of Renewable Energies, said that the debate on electricity bills needs to be expanded. “The problem is serious, but I see everyone’s willingness to seek solutions, which will involve renewable energies,” he said.
According to him, it is necessary to contemplate the needs of concessionaires without the consumer being penalized with readjustments above inflation. He led the semi-presential meeting from home, where he is recovering from emergency surgery on Tuesday (9), due to a clot in the brain detected in routine exams.
In the debate, deputies Benes Leocádio (União-RN) and Eduardo da Fonte (PP-PE) criticized the electricity sector. “No one defends the breach of contracts, but they were signed in another reality,” said Benes Leocádio. “There are absurdities, I won’t list them because it would take all day”, lamented Eduardo da Fonte.
Also participating in the hearing this Thursday were the president of Neoenergia Cosern, Mário Caires; the president of the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of Ceará, Amílcar Silveira; the president of the Ceará Consumer Defense Association, Thiago Fujita; and the representative of the Federation of Industries of Ceará, Joaquim Rolim.