By Jake Spring
BRASILIA, March 26 (Reuters) - Brazil Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said on Tuesday that Venezuela had not complied with its contract to supply northern Roraima state with energy since March 7.
Venezuela broke its contract with Eletronorte, a subsidiary of Brazilian state-run electricity company Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, Albuquerque told a Congressional hearing, without providing details.
The minister repeated that Brazil was working to start building a transmission line to connect Roraima to the rest of the Brazilian power grid in the second half of the year for completion in 2021, so that it was not reliant on Venezuela.
As the Venezuela’s economy has collapsed, the country has experienced widespread, intermittent electricity blackouts.
Brazil will, in addition, auction public contracts in May for supplying Roraima with renewable energy such as wind and solar, with those projects set for completion in 2021, also to replace energy from Venezuela, Albuquerque said.
Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Bernadette Baum