As predicted in the September 2001 issue of International Water Power and Dam Construction (p3), Brazil has reduced energy savings targets for some industrial and residential consumers in December 2001, a move prompted by the increased levels in hydro reservoirs along with the onset of the rainy season.

Fearing a collapse of the national grid, supplied almost entirely by hydro power, Brazil imposed the rationing in June 2001, forcing Brazilians to cut their power consumption by 20%. Back-to-back droughts and low rainfall, particularly in the northeast, had depleted reservoir water levels to record lows and many power plants were working at minimum capacity.

Pedro Parente, Brazil’s minister in charge of the energy crisis, reduced the energy savings targets for residential and commercial users from 20 to 12% for the three-month period from December 2001 to February 2002.

The targets for northern Brazil were cut to just 5%, with the target for the Northeast, the most severely affected by the drought, set at 17%.