The scandals of the electricity sector

From north to south, problems show disregard of electricity companies with the people affected by dams and the entire population

There is more and more evidence of how false the discourse of the privatization of the electricity sector is, saying it offers better quality of services. With the delivery of public property, private companies took over the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, disqualifying these services and putting people's lives at risk.

The most recent case that illustrates the problem, is the disruption of one of the nine gates of the hydroelectric plant Salto Osorio in the state of Parana, built in years 70. Today, Suez Tractebel owns the concession. In order to to solve the problem, the lake will have to be deepened by 20 meters, almost drying the reservoir. "This is a complicated situation. It was the disruption of one gate, but who knows that this was an isolated incident and may not be repeated in more serious proportions? Families are apprehensive, the information is very inaccurate and that worries us a lot" says Robson Formica, coordination of MAB in Paraná.

Facts are repeated - cause by the irresponsibility of the companies

In the south, Suez Tractebel lets break a lock. In the north where it is shareholder of Consórcio Ceste, another disaster ocurred. When closing the gates to make the lake dam, the amount of water was above the planned level and a lot of houses were flooded. Residents said the consortium was wrong in the measurements, because during all public hearings, the consortium said that the downstream villages would not be achieved. However, the water entered the houses besides killing a lot of fishes.

Similar problems occur in many places. Another case is the area affected by the plant Chapecó on the border of the states Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, whose gates were closed in 2010. There also, residents who were told they would be safe, suffered floodings of their sheds and planting areas.

According to Rodrigo Zancanaro, achieved by the dam, environmental impact studies are fraudulent, just to lower the cost for the company without considering the environmental and social impacts. "The company presented a study indicating that 1700 families would be affected by the dam. A recalculation by the state agency IBAMA indicated 2471 families. The Consortium has not recognized nor paid compensation to those families, who are now suffering from the flooding of their land" he said.

For the electrical engineer and director of the Union of Engineers of Paraná, Antonio Goulart, these problems are inherent the actual structure of the energy model, where the interest is to have a lot of profit. "The electricity blackout is a result of lack of investment by private companies, the workers in the electricity sector have precarious working conditions and more recently we had the blackout of Itaipu transmission lines, a series of explosions and serious problems with distributors such as Ligth in Rio de Janeiro. And now these problems in Salto Osorio that could have been much more severe. They reveal the damages caused by the privatization of the electricity sector" Goulart said.

For MAB, beyond the privatization, there is the problem of the energy production model where the priority is not meeting the needs of the population but the interest of the big capital. Meanwhile, the affected people and the Brazilians workers pay the bill!