Neoenergia reports challenges and opportunities in the execution of Luz para Todos works

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Bahia has a territory of 564,692 km², being the fifth largest state in Brazil. And it is here where Neoenergia works with the Luz Para Todos program, aimed at promoting the universalization of electric energy in the rural area together with the Federal Government. The state of Bahia is where the program reached the highest number of new connections among all Brazilian states, with 664 thousand homes served since its implementation in 2004, up to September 2020, benefiting 2.4 million people. The data show the dimension of activities in the municipalities of Bahia. In October alone, 200 works in progress were reported, representing the installation of 11,000 poles and 1,600 newly-powered houses. 

“For all of this to happen, it takes a lot of planning and strategy definition. After all, in a state with such a large dimension and plural characteristics, the emergence of challenges is naturally expected. They include access to localities, often located more than 200 km from the municipality's seat, as well as climatic conditions, which may vary according to the period of the year”, says the supervisor of the Luz Para Todos Management Unit at Neoenergia, Mayline Pinto.  

Not only the distance, but also the conditions of the roads interfere in the progress of works, as many of them are made of dirt or sand, posing difficulties to the arrival of heavy vehicles, such as trucks used to transport the poles to be installed in the villages. Solutions to these conditions include the use of chains in tires or emptying tires, a strategy that facilitates the traffic of vehicles on sandy roads, for example.  

Other situation found by the teams is places where there is no type access to vehicles. In this case, it is necessary to open the road to proceed, but this is not always possible. In view of that, the teams need to use a fiber post, which weighs about 200kg, much lighter than the concrete posts, for which the weight can be as high as a thousand kilos. Thus, the truck transports the poles to the nearest location and, from there, workers load the equipment to where it will be installed, including digging. The solution with the use of fiber posts is more common in the southern region of Bahia, where there is a large presence of the Atlantic Forest. 

It is also in the South region that the works are more subject to climatic conditions, since rain prevails in most part of the year. As the access to the works is made by an unpaved road, in the event of rain, the trucks can get stuck, staying on the road until they are towed or when access is possible. It is also common to have regions where it is necessary to make the transport by ferry to cross the river. 

In the North and West regions, among the main factors are the conditions of the land, which are usually composed of rock or sand. For regions with sand, the challenge is to fix the post, as the terrain breaks more easily. To solve the situation, concrete bases are placed on the ground before installation. Another report is in the presence of bridges built by the residents, structures that do not support much weight and, therefore, require increased attention when transporting the poles.  

“Each step of this requires research and design. Therefore, the teams carry out a detailed study on the specifications of the terrain, identify the environmental restrictions and accessibility. Then, they prepare the planning, in which the work execution schedule is determined”, says the supervisor. The activities begin at this point, including the recognition of communities, the definition of network points, the digging of the land, transport and deployment of posts, installation of conductors and transformers, to the connection at the customer's home, which culminates with the powering of the work.  

“The satisfaction of seeing the energy reach these places is immense, mainly because we know the positive impact it has on everyone's life”, adds Mayline. The works cover over 415 cities in Bahia and the goal is to power the entire state by 2021, consolidating universalization in Bahia.

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