Rousseff deepens Brazil power costs cuts as inflation accelerates

January 24, 2013

Raymond Collitt – Bloomberg, 01/23/2013

Brazil will lower energy costs this year more than the government previously announced and made the cuts effective today as part of an effort to slow inflation that has remained above the central bank’s target since August 2010.

“Beyond anticipating the enforcement of the new rates, the cut is bigger than previously announced,” President Dilma Rousseff said in a nationally-televised address yesterday.

The president said the cuts that go into effect today rather than early next month will pare consumers’ power costs 18 percent and those for industry by 32 percent compared to the reductions of 16.2 percent and 28 percent she had announced in September.

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Ghosts of 2001: Brazil worries about another energy crisis

January 10, 2013

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 01/09/2013

Brazil looks less vulnerable today to an energy crisis similar to one in 2001 that cut output at factories, lopped about a percentage point off economic growth, and led millions of people to spend their nights by candlelight.

Still, the risk of a major disruption remains – in part because the South American economic powerhouse has grown so much since then and electricity output has not kept up with soaring demand.

Twelve years ago, Brazil experienced a severe drought that reduced water levels at hydroelectric dams just as is happening today. The solution then was to ration energy supplies for eight months, in large part because the nation relied on such dams for 88 percent of generating capacity.

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Brazil says no to power rationing

January 10, 2013

The Miami Herald/AP, 01/08/2012

Brazil says it will not resort to energy rationing despite low water levels in the country’s hydroelectric power plants.

The executive secretary of the Mines and Energy Ministry is Marcio Zimmermann and he tells reporters on Tuesday that Brazil will activate generators fueled by natural gas if needed.

A hotter than usual summer and lack of rain have caused water levels at hydroelectric dams in most of the country to drop to a third of their capacity. The levels are similar to those registered in 2001, when rationing was imposed and blackouts occurred.

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Anaylsis: Brazil’s once-envied energy matrix a victim of “hubris”

January 8, 2013

Jeb Blount – Reuters, 01/07/2013

Just five years ago, Brazil‘s mostly “green” energy landscape was the envy of nations dependent on dirtier sources of power and the pride of a government that believed it was leading the country to economic superpower status.

Three-quarters of electricity came from renewable hydro power and the main automobile fuel was home-grown sugarcane ethanol. Plus, Brazil had just found massive oil fields off its coast, putting it on a path to become the world’s No. 3 oil producer after Russia and Saudi Arabia by 2020.

Today, the outlook is much darker. Oil output is falling, ethanol production has plunged, and fears have recently returned of electricity rationing that could further depress a stagnant economy and embarrass President Dilma Rousseff.

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