UPDATE 1-Eletrobras asks Brazil court to limit losses from gov't restrictions
(Adds details on court cases by other companies, reason for government restrictions)
SAO PAULO Aug 17 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run power utility Eletrobras is seeking court injunctions to limit losses related to government restrictions on hydroplant operations due to water shortages, the company's Chief Financial Officer Armando Casado de Araújo said on Monday on a call with market analysts.
Eletrobras power generation subsidiaries Eletronorte, Furnas, Chesf and Eletrosul all sought injunctions to limit the size of monthly disbursements related to providing distributors with less power than the specified in current supply contracts.
Araújo said Furnas, Chesf and Eletrosul succeeded in obtaining court orders and were able to limit payments, while Eletronorte was not.
The growing legal battle threatens to destabilize Brazil's regulated power market.
Facing the worst energy crisis in 15 years, Brazil's Energy Ministry has restricted hydroplant operations, keeping them far below capacity in order to preserve reservoirs during the current dry season and reduce the risk of a supply collapse.
As a result, hydro generators must buy power in the spot market to honor supply contracts with power distributors.
In the last weeks, several companies have gone to court to avoid or limit those payments, including Cemig, Copel and Tractebel, arguing it is not their fault if the government restricts operations to levels that are insufficient to meet their contract obligations.
The Brazilian Energy Ministry said last week it would present a proposal to try to settle the matter in coming days.
Eletrobras reported on Friday a net loss of 1.36 billion reais ($390 million) for the second quarter compared with a loss of 109 million reais ($31.2 million) a year earlier.
($1 = 3.486 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira and Luciano Costa; Editing by Alan Crosby and Lisa Shumaker)
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