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Eletropaulo | Consumer, to the Barricades!

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Source: «Diário do Centro do Mundo »

Topic: Is Eletropaulo deceiving São Paulo as Sabesp did?

Counterpoint: In a statement just now, Eletropaulo says it has reduced incidents from 800,000 to 6,000.

“At the moment, AES Eletropaulo teams are working to restore power to 19,000 clients affected by the powerful storms that hit 24 area townships, including the capital, this week. The forecast for today is torrential rain.”

This was the terse note posted to the Eletropaulo Web site today. Yesterday, the number of customers was 40,000, and 80,000 the day before that. In the past three days alone, Eletropaulo said it attended 139,000 customers. But there is no danger of overstatement here. Of the 800,000 affected by a blackout on January 12, more then 170,000 remain without electricity as of this past weekend.

It is to be expected that such problems will occur during the summer months, especially as a result of torrential rains. But customers hijacking an Eletropaulo truck and hold it until the problem is fixed, that was a significant event. And what to say about a hospital subject to a 9-hour outage, where doctors had to use the screens of their cell phones to illuminate a birth?

Is this a typical event or has the company failed to prevent it? Are we living through another unofficial rationing, glossed over by the “authorities” just as the water crisis was?

In Brazil, water and electricity go hand in hand. Some 97% of electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants. With the water supply drying up, it comes as no surprise that blackouts occur. In the Southeast Region alone, the supply of water for generation has fallen 56%, according to the National Operation of the Electrical System — Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico.

The reservoirs are not being renewed. In that case, will there be outages, or are we already experiencing them?

It should be observed that contrary to common sense, and given this Dantesque inferno we are living in, with temperatures over 85 degrees F in the early morning hours, consumption has fallen. In the first two weeks of this year, 7.1% less energy was consumed than during the same period last year.

So where is the problem? Lack of water, trees falling on overhead wiring, lightning strikes, all mixed together. But Eletropaulo cannot merely blame the gods. After the seizure of the truck cited above took place in the Jabaquara neighborhood of São Paulo (there was a similar case in Butantã), the problem was fixed in 40 minutes.

In nearby Vila Joaniza, residents mounted a protest and the repair was concluded in 5 minutes. During a storm, a switching unit had fallen. Residents went 76 hours without electricity. In short, simple problems are treated in the same manner as the more complex problems requiring other teams, modeled on the city team that remains on alert for falling trees.

Is AES Eletropaulo unable to prioritize and differentiate cases in order to better direct its repair crews?

Okay, none of this has gone unnoticed and the company has been fined R$3.7 million, but is the real dimension of the risks we are running? I appeal once again for you to compare the situation with the water crisis: is it a passing phenomenon or are they deceiving us up until one day we come across a much larger issue on the corner up the street? Is this a real crisis or should it be attributed to the boundless incompetence of Eletropaulo?

The company owes us an explanation.  Being kept in the dark — in both senses — is [a pain in the ass.]

Up a Tree Without a Ladder

The Estado de S. Paulo published a detailed piece on the customer rebellion, below.

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A team from AES Eletropaulo was “taken hostage” on January 16 by residents who had suffered through four consecutive days without electricity on Daniela Crespi Street, in Butantã, in the Western Zone … Rather than asking for “ransom,” the local populace demanded the return of service, which was accomplished in 40 minutes after the “kidnapping.”

During a visit by the Estado de S. Paulo to the area, an Eletropaulo pickup truck working in the area were summoned by residents. Upon arrival at the the site, which is a cul de sac, the Eletropaulo team was surrounded. Residents used their own cars to prevent the team from leaving the area …

Problem Solved, Says AES

In a statement just now, Eletropaulo says it has reduced incidents from 800,000 to 6,000.