Blackouts Are Thing of Past, in Brazil, Says Lula

    Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva affirmed that the projects implemented by the government in the energy sector ensure that Brazil will not suffer another blackout at least until 2010.

    "With the projects that we are undertaking and those already executed, we are covered at least through 2009, 2010," Lula said in his weekly radio broadcast, "Breakfast with the President."

    Discussing the importance of the energy supply to the country’s development, the President criticized the "negligence" of government leaders who failed to invest in the sector in 2001, the year in which the country experienced a crisis in its energy supply.

    He pointed out that "we had to pay twice [for what happened then]: We paid because we lacked power, and then we paid because we had to ensure the profits of the companies."

    The blackout in 2001 in various states led to energy rationing in the Southeast, Center-West, and Northeast regions, a situation that had not occurred since 1965.

    According to the President, if there had been more power lines in the country at the time, there would have been no power outages in some cities. The power lines interconnect the country’s various systems of electric production, Lula explained.

    "In 2001 we experienced excessive rainfall and thus excessive water volume in the reservoirs of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Since there were no power lines to transport energy from there to here, we were unable to produce in the South the surplus energy that could have solved the problem in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, or Rio de Janeiro."

    Therefore, the President emphasized, the government earmarked resources for the construction of these power lines. Last week, in Assis, in the interior of São Paulo state, President Lula inaugurated the Londrina-Assis-Araraquara power line, which is 364.5 kilometers long and has a 525 thousand volt transmission capacity.

    About 9.6 thousand kilometers of power lines have already been built under the current Administration around the country. "This represents a 13% increase and R$ 5 billion in investments," the President affirmed.

    Agência Brasil

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