TCU questions Aneel about the benefit given to the J&F company – 09/23/2022 – Market

The TCU (Union Court of Auditors) gave Aneel (National Electric Energy Agency) a period of 15 days to explain why it allowed Âmbar Energia to use the Cuiabá thermal plant, an old undertaking, instead of four new plants that delayed .

Ámbar is the energy arm of J&F, which also controls JBS, a company in the meat sector.

The questioning is based on a report written by Seinfra Elétrica (Secretariat for Inspection of Electric Energy Infrastructure), the technical area of ​​the TCU responsible for the external control of public bodies in this sector.

After a long investigation, Seinfra Electric claims that the change authorized by the agency is illegal, as well as several of the procedures adopted by directors to make it possible. In the representation on the subject, he identified deviation from public policy, absence of reasoning for the decision, as well as lack of transparency in the process.

Seinfra also recommended that the MPF (Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office) be advised to ask for compensation for the losses that the decision imputed to the energy consumer, which includes guaranteeing the return of the resources transferred to the company and effecting the collection of fines.

By the calculation presented, Âmbar would have to pay, considering only the fines, R$ 126 million.

Aneel’s press office declared, in a note, that the decision being analyzed by the TCU no longer has any effect, since Âmbar has not fulfilled its part. “The possibility of using the UTE Cuiabá to meet the obligations contracted in the PCS is not valid”, highlights the text.

The agency also stated that the issue is not closed at the administrative level, because resources have been presented that are yet to be evaluated. “Only after the judgment of such appeals does the administrative sphere end and, therefore, all the conditions can still be reviewed by the board of Aneel.”

Sought by the report, J&F, Âmbar’s controller, did not respond until the publication of this text.

The final assessment of Seinfra Elétrica is the same as that of the MME (Ministry of Mines and Energy), which had already sent the agency official correspondence signed by Minister Adolfo Sachsida questioning the measure.

Seinfra recommended that the TCU ask the managers who approved the change for clarification. They are the rapporteur of the process at Aneel, former director Efrain da Cruz, directors Hélvio Guerra and Fernando Tili, and now general director Sandoval Feitosa.

The minister who reported this process at the TCU, Benjamin Zymler, was more conservative. Before giving his assessment of the directors’ conduct, he asked the agency for explanations, not specifically the directors. Zymler also extended to Ámbar the right to speak on the matter.

By the rite, after the conclusion of the minister, the process goes to trial in the plenary of the court. TCU’s questions to Aneel are rare, and no director has been fined, a procedure provided for more serious cases.

Those who had access to the documents interpreted that Zymler is giving Aneel an opportunity to resolve the issue, which remains on hold.

Âmbar’s four gas-fired power plants are part of a group of 17 plants that participated, in October last year, in a new type of auction, the PCS (Simplified Competitive Procedure). Performed on an emergency basis, it hired power plants to function as a blackout insurance.

They were supposed to operate from May 1 of this year to December 31, 2025, at a total cost considered very high. It would be R$ 39 billion over these little more than three years.

In case of delay, the company should pay a fine. If it did not generate energy for the system by July 31 of this year, on August 1 the contract suspension process would begin.

Ámbar did not participate in the auction. Months after him, she bought the four projects, which are equivalent to practically half the cost, almost R$ 18 billion. Subsequently, he began to demand the exchange of the four plants for the Cuiabá thermal plant.

Initially, Âmbar’s request was denied by Aneel’s technical area. An auction rule vetoes the participation of thermal plants that were already operating on the PCS date. The Cuiabá plant has been on for 21 years.

In the second attempt, the request went into secrecy, and the company was benefited, in May, by a precautionary measure. For 18 days, he did not pay a fine and was paid for operating. In June, the deputy director general, Camila Bonfim, suspended the precautionary measure. In the analysis of the merits, in a final decision, on July 12, the majority of the board approved the exchange,

However, to be able to connect the Cuiabá plant, Âmbar would have to guarantee a counterpart: deliver the four projects on the contract date. However, this did not happen. There are those who understand that the non-delivery of the plants ends the controversy. However, others believe that Aneel needs to officially cancel the contracts.

By rule, all companies that did not meet the deadline are entitled to present justifications within a procedure called exclusion of liability. Aneel has not yet evaluated most of them.

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