Brazil's Mines and Energy Ministry on Monday ruled out that Latin America's largest economy could find itself without enough electricity in the coming weeks despite the low water levels in the reservoirs that drive hydroelectric plants.
Edison Lobao said in remarks to reporters that the risk of a lack of energy is "zero," but he admitted that Brazil is currently depending on energy from plants fueled by natural gas, which is more costly and polluting.
The average water level in the reservoirs in the southeastern and west-central regions of the country as of Sunday was 39.98 percent of capacity, the lowest in the past year, while the situation at the reservoirs in the southeast is the worst since 1953.
The hydroelectric plants in the southeast and west-central zones are responsible for about 70 percent of the total energy produced by Brazil, a country that produces most of its electricity at reservoirs and dams.
"We're at more than 40 percent (of storage capacity) in the main reservoirs and we're not identifying any risk of a lack of supply for now. Zero risk," said Lobao.
He acknowledged that the entry into operation of some thermal energy plants to meet demand and reduce the use of water at hydroelectric plants could raise the cost of power generation in the country due to an increase in natural gas and diesel consumption.
In that regard, Lobao said that the government is studying ways to avoid having the cost of electricity production paid for by consumers. EFE