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    Free electricity in the favelas

    To halt illegal connections, Enel Brazil puts people in São Paulo’s favelas on its regular grid free of charge, promoting social inclusion and gender equality

    Date of entry
    23 November 2022
    Total cost (Approximate amount)
    USD 422 million (EUR 397 million)
    Proposed EIB finance (Approximate amount)
    USD 200 million (EUR 188 million)
    See more

    Summary sheet

    Release date
    23 November 2022
    Approved | 21/12/2022
    Project name
    Promoter - financial intermediary
    Proposed EIB finance (Approximate amount)
    Total cost (Approximate amount)
    USD 200 million (EUR 188 million)
    USD 422 million (EUR 397 million)
    • Energy - Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

    This investment is an allocation of funds under the Enel Energy & Renewable framework loan, consisting of electricity distribution investments in Brazil. These aim to extend and modernise the network, add new renewable energy capacity to the network, reduce losses and improve quality and safety of supply.

    The project consists of the financing of the modernisation and extension of the Promoter's electricity distribution networks in the São Paulo region and of the installation of new remote control systems and protections of the grid, with the aim of increasing the its reliability, resilience and reducing the level of losses, leading to better quality and safety of energy supply. A portion of the investment will also enable the connection to additional renewable generation units.

    Environmental aspects

    The Bank reviewed the environmental and social capacity of the Promoter, including its organisation, processes and procedures, and deemed them to be good. Based on the information available, the programme is expected to have minor negative residual impacts and thus is acceptable for Bank financing from an environmental and social perspective. The Promoter undertakes to implement the project in accordance with the EIB's Environmental and Social Standards and in compliance with the national environmental legislation. Furthermore the programme does not entail components with significant, negative environmental and/or social impacts or requiring physical resettlement and/or impact on indigenous people in accordance with undertakings committed to under the Framework Loan 2020-0823. The Promoter undertakes not to allocate the Bank's funds to any components of the programme that require an environmental and social management plan (ESMP) before this has been sent for review to the satisfaction of the Bank.

    The concession to the Promoter was awarded in a transparent and internationally competitive manner, the programme is not subject to public procurement rules. The procurement procedures followed by the Promoter are suitable for the project and satisfactory to the EIB.

    Related projects


    Before financing approval by the Board of Directors, and before loan signature, projects are under appraisal and negotiation. The information and data provided on this page are therefore indicative.
    They are provided for transparency purposes only and cannot be considered to represent official EIB policy (see also the Explanatory notes).


    Environmental and Social Data Sheet (ESDS) - ENEL LATAM - BRAZIL DISTRIBUTION (FL 20200823)
    Publication Date
    24 Dec 2022
    Document language
    Main Topic
    Document Number
    Document Focus
    Environmental Information
    Project Number
    Publicly available
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    Inside the project

    How and Why

    Providing legal electricity to the São Paulo favelas


    • In Brazil, energy theft is around 15% and over 50% in the north
    • Residents in the favelas are socially excluded, living without legal registration
    • Nearly 34.8 million of Brazilian households are led by women, many of them in the favelas


    • Enel São Paulo provides electricity distribution at a subsidised price
    • With a legal electricity bill, residents have proof of address, giving them access to services previously unobtainable.
    • Energy efficiency measures, such as the renovation of electrical installations, and replacement of old appliances for more energy efficient models


    Reliable, affordable, clean energy

    The European Investment Bank granted $200 million to Enel São Paulo to reduce energy losses in its network and to improve the quality and safety of the energy supply in the São Paulo region.





    How to avoid energy loss and exercise citizenship

    If you go to the favelas and look up, you see all these cables connected to the power grid. Most of them are illegal.
    Martina Cimarosa

    associate investment officer, European Investment Bank

    Brazil is the largest single energy consumer in South America, accounting for about 36% of total energy consumption in the region. But in 2020 alone, the costs of electricity theft amounted to BRL 6.5 billion (around €1.15 million).

    Enel São Paulo begins its work in peripheral areas with a study of the social and economic context. The company identifies community leaders and integrates them into its “Leadership Network” project, in which it reaches out to communities and identifies local needs and challenges.

    It then continues with a social diagnosis by studying the daily habits and energy consumption of residents. It recruits local leaders to encourage action in the communities, educating residents about the risks of clandestine connections, and building awareness of the safe and conscious use of energy.

    Enel São Paulo also introduces energy efficiency measures to the residents of the favelas, such as the renovation of electrical installations, replacement of lamps and refrigerators by more energy efficient models.


    Listen to our podcast on climate energy solutions:

    The main objective of this project was to improve stability and reliability energy distribution in the favelas, but we ended up discovering that a majority of the households were led by women, which added a gender and a social integration perspective.
    Moa Westman

    gender specialist at the European Investment Bank

    Opportunity for women

    Women who receive emergency aid in the state of São Paulo represent 83% of total beneficiaries, according to the National Secretariat of Citizenship Income of the Ministry of Citizenship. This means that eight out of ten families in situations of greater social vulnerability are headed by women – who also pay their energy bills at the social tariff.

    The projects developed by Enel São Paulo, especially those focused on social entrepreneurship and professional training, focus on women. These women have fewer opportunities, receive lower wages in the formal labour market, and are often victims of domestic violence.

    “By encouraging social entrepreneurship, we give many women a chance to develop,” says Massotti. “They form productive groups and generate income from their entrepreneurial activities, while also building their self-esteem.”

    These projects might also be considered as a way to address the global issue of the women’s underrepresentation in the energy sector. Women only account for 16% of the traditional energy sector, which sets a significant barrier to the sector going through a transformation process.

    Enel Brasil

    Why is energy efficiency important?

    The electricity and fuel used to heat, cool and light buildings account for nearly 40% of energy consumption in Europe and are responsible for around 35% of greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings are the single biggest consumers of energy, so making them more efficient can have a big impact on the race to meet climate goals.

    The challenge is immense. Nearly half of all European residential buildings were constructed before 1970, when materials, standards and techniques didn’t consider how much energy was consumed. Many of these older buildings will still be in use in 2050 and beyond. The European Commission estimates that 75 percent of buildings and housing could be made more energy efficient, while less than 1% of housing is renovated each year for energy efficiency.

    Read what two experts in the field say about the importance of energy efficiency to stopping global warming.

    By regularising the connections in the favelas, we cut the energy losses that damage the supply chain and negatively impact paying clients, who bear a percentage of this damage in their energy bills.
    Marcia Massotti

    head of sustainability, Enel Brazil

    General enquiries and comments

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    Enquiries and comments concerning the EIB’s involvement in a project or the financing facilities, activities, organisation and objectives of the EIB, can be sent to the EIB Infodesk.
    Alternatively, the EIB can be contacted through its external offices.
    Queries regarding details of a specific project, in particular when it is under appraisal by the EIB, should preferably be addressed directly to project promoters.

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    Complaints mechanism

    Any complaint regarding alleged maladministration can be lodged via the EIB Complaints Mechanism. The European Ombudsman acts as an independent external accountability mechanism of the EIB.

    Zero tolerance against fraud and corruption

    The EIB has a zero tolerance policy on fraud or corruption. To report allegations of fraud and corruption relating to EIB-financed projects, please contact the Fraud and Investigation division. All complaints will be treated as strictly confidential and handled in line with the EIB investigation procedures and the Anti-Fraud Policy.

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