(Adds comments from finance, energy ministers)
By Leonardo Goy
BRASILIA, Jan 7 (Reuters) - State-run banks in Brazil may loan 2.5 billion reais ($932 million) to the country’s energy distributors as they face soaring power costs, the director of energy watchdog Aneel said on Wednesday.
The details of the potential loan from Banco do Brasil SA , Caixa Econômica Federal SA and state development bank BNDES are still being worked out by Brazil’s new finance and energy ministers, Aneel’s Reive Barros said.
But Brazil’s Finance Minister Joaquim Levy later said the government had not yet decided on measures to help power distributors.
Energy Minister Eduardo Braga said after a meeting with Levy that the loan was a possibility but would need to be paired with a long-term solution.
“The finance ministry clearly says that, in order to evaluate the loan transaction there must be a structured proposal,” Braga said, adding that a long-term solution is still in the works and he hoped to announce a plan by Friday.
The loans would cover short-term operations for November and December that the distributors have been unable to cover with fees from consumers, Barros said.
Power distributors have struggled to pay the country’s spot market electricity clearinghouse, known as the CCEE, since a drought that started a year ago reduced the energy available from hydroelectric dams, normally responsible for about two-thirds of the country’s electricity.
Distributors have had to buy spot market power, much of it generated by expensive natural gas or fuel oil, to meet rising consumer demand.
The CCEE’s president Luiz Barata also said on Wednesday that it may have to delay settlement of some 1.5 billion reais on Jan. 13 if a solution is not found.
The loan in discussion would be the third to distributors in less than a year. In April, 10 banks provided a 11.2 billion reais loan and a second loan was secured in August.
Representatives from Caixa and Banco do Brasil did not immediately comment on the loan. A representative for BNDES was not immediately available for comment.
$1 = 2.68 reais Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Chris Reese and Diane Craft