Brazil to seek bids to expand number of power lines

Feb 04, 2003 01:00 AM

The Brazilian government plans to seek, on an emergency basis, construction bids to lay additional power lines to prevent a repeat of the 2001 energy crisis, which forced authorities to implement a strict energy rationing plan.
Development, Industry and Trade Minister Luiz Fernando Furlan made the official announcement, following a meeting with Energy and Mines Minister Dilma Roussef and other Cabinet members.

To guarantee the supply of energy throughout Brazil in 2004 and 2005, Brazil would need additional transmission lines to connect the southern and south-eastern regions -- where several hydroelectric power plants are located -- with the northern, north-eastern and central-western areas.
"We need to guarantee the transmission of energy from one region to another in the event of energy shortages somewhere in the country," Furlan said.

Later this year, the government plans to request bids from private companies for the construction and management of new transmission lines via concessions, the minister said. The rationing plan forced 130 mm of Brazil's 170 mm people to reduce their energy consumption by 20 %.
The program, which mandated steep fines and blackouts for those who failed to comply, practically brought Brazil's energy industry to a standstill. The crisis was precipitated by a drought that severely affected the South American country in 2001, reducing to low levels the reservoirs that feed Brazil's hydroelectric plants, which produce more than 90 % of the energy used by Brazilians.

Source: EFE
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