Brazil’s regulator opens consultation on electricity prepayment


Brasilia, Brazil — (METERING.COM) — June 28, 2012 – Brazil’s regulator Aneel (Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica) has launched a public consultation to gather information on subsidies and the regulation of procedures for electronic prepayment and post-payment of electricity.

According to the draft resolution, the implementation of these modalities is a faculty of the distributor and for the consumer should be voluntary and without charge. Return to the previous mode should be possible on request at any time, and should be carried out within 30 days.

Aneel proposes that consumers who opt for prepayment should receive an initial credit of 5 kWh. If the consumer has a debt with the distributor, then this can be deducted when purchasing credits, in installments up to a maximum of 10 percent of the purchase. Further, when the consumer runs out of credit and is temporarily unable to acquire more, an emergency credit may be requested.

Aneel also proposes that the tariffs of the two modalities should be equal to that of traditional billing, with the proviso that distributors may offer lower tariffs to those who adhere to the new modalities.

According to a statement Aneel aims with the regulation to bring benefits to both the distributors and particularly consumers. For consumers these would include improving the management of energy consumption, greater transparency in relation to daily expenses through real time information, flexibility in the acquisition and payment of energy, elimination of the collection of fines, interest for late payment and reconnection fees, and saving through changing consumption habits. For the distributors, benefits should include reduced operating costs, the reduction of delinquency, and an improved relationship with customers.

Prepayment has been under consideration by Aneel for some while. Among other activities, since November 2009 Aneel has been overseeing a prepayment pilot project by Eletrobras Amazonas Energia involving over 200 consumers in 12 remote communities in Amazonas. In a statement reporting on a visit last month to four communities in the municipality of Maués, Aneel said it found a heightened awareness and perception of energy costs among consumers and that households were purchasing sufficient credit for their daily requirements and none of those interviewed had experienced the low credit warning signal.
The consultation, which includes public information sessions in 10 cities, runs from June 28 to September 25.