By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Due to the severe drought registered in parts of the Center-West and Southeastern regions of Brazil in the past few months, daylight saving time will not be as successful in reducing energy consumption levels as it did last year, say government officials. Savings estimates for this year’s daylight saving time is of R$278 million, well below the R$405 million saved last year during the same period.
The reason for the reduction in savings is due to the forecast of lower volumes of rainfall and increases in consumer consumption. Brazil’s Electric System National Operator (ONS) reduced on Friday (October 17th) its estimate of rainfall for the country’s Center-West and Southeastern regions, leaving the regions’ water reservoirs with little hope of a speedy recovery of capacity levels until the end of the year.
To add to the negative news, energy consumption in states like Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro increased in the last few weeks due to the atypical high temperatures seen in these states.
“In the Southeast and Center-West region expected (energy consumption) growth rates for the month of October is of 2.5 percent due to the increase in consumption of residential and retail customers,” stated the ONS in its weekly operations bulletin last week.
According to the government agency rainfall fall will be significantly below average in the Southeast and Center-West regions in the next few weeks. With the reduction in rainfall, average reservoir levels in these regions should fall even lower, from 22 percent to 19 percent by the end of October. According to the ONS the level of capacity of reservoirs in the Southeastern region has been falling since June of 2013.
In São Paulo state, for example, the severe drought has led to water rationing programs in many cities and Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo City is under the threat of running out of water by the middle of November if no considerable rainfall is seen by then, say analysts. The state of Rio de Janeiro is also facing water shortage problems, with reservoirs well below their average capacity levels.
Daylight saving time in ten Brazilian states and the capital, Brasilia, started on October 19th and will run until February 22nd, 2015.