In less than a year, the Light for All program is expected to benefit 1.3 milllion people in the countryside, around 375 thousand families, according to a survey released by the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
The goal, however, is to reach 8.7 million people by 2008. According to the national director of the program, Aurélio Pavão de Farias, the current average amounts to 40 thousand new connections per month.
The program was inaugurated at the end of 2003 and really began to function in the second half of 2004. Since then the federal government has managed to make electric power available to 1,500 municipalities throughout the country.
The Northeast region was the region served the best, since it is the area with the highest index of houses without electricity. Around 100 thousand families were benefited there. In subsequent order, the other regions were the North, the Center-West, the Southeast, and the South.
According to Farias, the priority is to serve the remaining settlements of descendants of runaway slaves, Indian communities, and muncipalities with low Human Development Indices (IDH). Electricity connections are free for poor families, which receive a kit containing two plugs and three light bulb installations.
Of the total of families assisted so far, 250,000 already have electricity in their homes, and the rest will receive it soon, according to Farias, who said that the work is underway. “I would say that this country is a true construction camp in terms of the Light for All project.”
Farias recalled that, besides eliminating electric power exclusion, the program permits the inclusion of the families that are benefited in the country’s economy.
“Electricity is a factor of development. It makes possible the development of the places that are benefited, through small industrial centers, such as manioc-processing plants, small sweet goods factories, milk-processing plants, and fresh-food cooling centers. We know various cases where electricity permitted the generation of income and local development.”
Aurélio Farias said that to eliminate electrical exclusion throughout the country, including urban areas, electricity still needs to arrive in the houses of 12 million people.