brazilian drought & power crisis

Leslilake1 at Leslilake1 at
Fri May 18 23:02:34 PDT 2001

Anyone know any background on this?


Monday May 14, 5:55 pm Eastern Time

Brazil to unveil energy rationing plan May 18

BRASILIA, May 14 (Reuters) - Brazil's government said Monday it would bring forward by five days to May 18 the announcement of plans to ration energy as it seeks to calm a worried public and nervous investors over chronic energy shortages.

President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said in a televised address after the first meeting of a special task force to deal with the crisis that a plan to deal with the shortages will be announced five days earlier than originally planned.

Woes over the energy shortage rose sharply last week as economists said it would likely cut economic growth. The prospect of rationing has sent financial markets reeling.

Acute water shortages at reservoirs have been sparked by the worst drought in 70 years, sharply reducing energy output at hydroelectric plants which provide 90 percent of Brazil's electricity.

Cardoso added that all possibilities mentioned so far, such as cutting energy consumption through rationing, were ``hypothesis'' and the final details will be announced Friday.

``It is undeniable that this (energy shortage) has an emergency aspect,'' said Cardoso.

Expectations until now have been that energy rationing would be introduced in June and last until the end of November to cut energy consumption by 20 percent.

Cardoso did, however, say that the federal government would start rationing energy already this month, with a target of federal public offices reducing consumption by 15 percent this month from consumption the same month a year earlier.

Finance Minister Pedro Malan said Monday that the government had not coordinated well the looming energy crisis. ``I have no problem admitting this, there has certainly been a problem with communication and coordination among various parts of the government,'' said Malan.

Cardoso said the crisis would only be overcome if there is clarity in information. ``The government has to talk directly to the people,'' the president said.

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