By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s Mines and Energy Minister Eduardo Braga has together with President Dilma Rousseff decided that the daylight saving time currently adopted in the South and Southeast of Brazil will not be extended despite the current drought, as he deemed that more energy would be spent than saved.
The summer time that started on October 19, 2014 and turned the clocks an hour forward in the South, Southeast and Center-East of Brazil, now ends as planned on the weekend after Carnival, on Sunday, February 22nd.
Braga explained the change in opinion, not to extend the daylight saving time, with energy consumption. With a month more of summer time, some places would become darker in the mornings, leading to an increased use of electricity at that point of time.
The electricity savings from the afternoon will not be able to make up for that use, as the peak time of consumption has gone to early afternoon. The main time of energy usage used to be between 6PM and 9PM, but has recently moved to 2PM to 4PM.
“The reason why it is not worth to extend the daylight saving time is that part of Brazil would be dark in the morning and we would therefore have greater energy consumption in the morning. Notwithstanding, in the afternoon, we could save some energy, but that would be more important if the peak time was confirmed [later],” Braga explained.
For the summer 2014/2015 it is estimated that energy consumption is reduced by around 4.5 percent with the daylight saving time, translating into R$278 million that will be saved. This is 31 percent less than in previous years.
Energy consumption has become an important topic in Brazil, as the country is going through one of the worst droughts mainly in the Southeast of the country, while over eighty percent of its electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants. Several of those plants had to stop operations in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with the lack of water in the reservoirs.