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Brazil restrictions to be eased

THE BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT has announced that its power rationing plan is working successfully and is likely to allow an easing of restrictions in 2002.

In response to a drought that depleted the country’s hydro power reserves, the government ordered residential and corporate consumers in June 2001 to cut consumption by 15-25 %. According to a government official, consumption had fallen by 23.5% in the northeast and 25.3% in the remaining affected areas.

At the end of August 2001, water levels at hydro reservoirs, which account for 93% of the country’s energy supply, were also said to be 2.72% above expected levels. This means that even in a worst-case scenario, assuming rainfall of 61% of its usual level, rationing in 2002 would not exceed 5% of consumption, said the government.

• Brazil and Venezuela have inaugurated a 680km long high voltage power line connection between the two countries. The US$400M intertie will supply cheap hydroelectricity from Venezuela to energy-starved northern Brazil.