By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The costs for electricity consumption are already on the rise and are expected to reach an increase of up to seventy percent in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo until the end of the year due to a combination of factors such as high temperatures, drought and the high dollar.
The summer months and especially the current heat wave have already led to higher energy consumption this year leading to an increase in consumers’ bills in the coming months.
Together with the lack of water in the hydroelectric plants – São Paulo’s Cantareira is currently at 10.6 percent of its volume – and the use of the costlier thermoelectricity, the high dollar increasing the cost of electricity from bi-national Itaipu also contributes to higher electricity bills in the Southeast of Brazil. The costs of energy from the dam have already risen by 46 percent.
The forecast of a rise of up to seventy percent in costs until the end of the year due to these factors already is almost triple the amount experts had initially forecast for 2015, when estimates lay at 25 percent in the last quarter of 2014.
In January and February, electricity bills already showed the tariff increase set by Light in November at 19.11 percent together with an additional R$0.03 per kilowatt hour introduced at the beginning of the year to cover the higher energy generation costs.
Residents in Rio de Janeiro report increases in their bills that go from double the usual amount up to five times as much as they used to pay. A household of two went from an usual monthly R$50 to over R$200 and more.
Next month, the addition to the tariff per kilowatt hour consumed will rise to R$0.055 and measures for companies will be discussed in the following weeks. Experts believe the increase could be around twenty percent.
While consumers are advised to keep a close eye on their electricity consumption, the water reservoirs in the entire country remain low. In combination they are at 19.17 percent in the Southeast/Centerwest of Brazil, at 16.65 percent in the Northeast, 48.45 percent in the South and 36.97 percent in the North.