Statement by the President of the Republic, Dilma Rousseff, on lower electric power rates
January 23, 2013
Dear Brazilians, ladies and gentlemen,
I have just signed a measure that brings into effect, as of tomorrow (Jan. 24, 2013), a major reduction in electricity bills for all Brazilians. We are introducing the new rates earlier and cutting them more than had been planned and announced. Brazilian families’ electricity bills will now be 18% lower.
This is a first for Brazil, but not the first time our government has taken steps to cut costs, expand investment, increase employment and assure more growth for the country and well-being for Brazilians. We have lowered interest rates, cut taxes, eased credit and opened the way like never before for poor and middle class families to buy their own homes. Meanwhile, we have expanded investment in infrastructure, education and health, bringing us closer to the day when extreme poverty will become a thing of the past for Brazil.
The outlook for electric power could not be better. This rate cut, for a country which is already an energy powerhouse, further enhances Brazil’s electric power situation. Few countries, like ours, can both lower energy costs and increase their output of electricity. To put it in numbers, as I have said, power bills will fall 18% in 2013 for household consumers and up to 32% for industry, agriculture, commerce and services. At the same time, as new power stations and transmission lines come into operation, we will increase power output by 7%, and even more in the years to come.
This two-pronged movement gives us a privileged situation in the world. It means that Brazil’s energy will keep getting better and less expensive, and that Brazil will have more than enough energy for the present and the future, with no risk of rationing or any manner of shortage in the short, medium or long term.
Last year, we brought 4,000 megawatts and 2,780 kilometers of power lines into operation. This year, we will incorporate another 8,500 megawatts of power and 7,540 kilometers of new power lines. We have a large number of other plants and transmission lines under construction or already designed. In 15 years, they will allow us to double our current 121,000 megawatts generating capacity. We have now contracted all the energy that Brazil needs to grow – and grow well – for this and the coming years.
My dear friends,
Brazil’s energy situation has been solid since 2004, when we corrected major distortions in the electric power sector and invested heavily in both generation and transmission. Our system is one of the world’s soundest because, among other reasons, our generating capacity is more diverse than in most countries.
We have hydro-, nuclear, thermal and wind power stations, and our thermal plants – which run on gas, diesel, coal and biomass – were conceived to make up for periods of low water levels in hydropower reservoirs. The thermal plants are used, to varying degrees, almost every year, and easily cover demand. This is a usual, normal, sound and correct situation, and raises no major risks or concerns.
It is surprising that, since last month, certain voices – out of haste, misinformation or some other motivation – have made groundless forecasts, when reservoir levels dropped and thermal stations were routinely brought online. Such forecasts naturally came to nothing, as Brazil did not fall short of its needs by a single kilowatt and now, with the rainy season, the need for thermal energy will once again decline.
Similar faulty forecasts came from those who said, first, that the government would be unable to lower electric bills. Then they said the cuts would be delayed and, finally, that they would be smaller than the figure we had announced.
Today, besides the reduction, we are expanding its reach and bringing it into effect sooner. That means lower costs for each of you and for the country’s entire economy. We will cut costs for the productive sector, meaning more investment, more production and more jobs. Everyone, with no exception, will come out ahead.
I also want to reassure citizens served by power companies which did not join our efforts that, like all Brazilians, their power bills will also be reduced. I hope that even those who opposed rate cuts will soon come to agree with my position.
Actually, in this new Brazil, naysayers are being left behind by a country that keeps forging ahead with no looking back, even in a world rife with problems. Today we see how those who never believed we could grow and distribute income were wrong. They thought it would be impossible to raise tens of millions of people out of extreme poverty and did not believe Brazil could ever become a middle-class country. In recent months, we see how wrong are those who said we would reduce neither interest rates nor power bills and who try to frighten our people with specters of unemployment and dwindling real wages. Interest rates have dropped like never before, employment is on the rise and Brazilians can wisely afford to consume and save. There is no shortage of food or jobs. In the past two years, over 19.5 million Brazilian men and women have moved up from extreme poverty.
Brazil is bigger than ever and immune to alarmist conjectures. For years now, the winners have been those who hold faith in and bet on Brazil. As we defeat pessimism and the pessimists, we are enjoying one of the best times in our history. The majority of Brazilians share and express that feeling. We will have even better times, when all Brazilians, with no exception, work to unite and build together – never to divide or destroy. For we shall only build a nation as big as our dreams, when we place our faith in Brazil above our own political or personal interests.
Thank you very much, and good night.
Source: Press Office of the Presidency of the Republic