The “Light for all” program was launched by the Federal Government in November 2003, and it has as its goal to end the electric exclusion in the country in the rural ambit, reaching over 10 million people until the year of 2008. The Program has been coordinated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, operationalized by Eletrobrás and executed by the electric power concessionaires and rural electrification co-operatives. For meeting the initial goal, R$ 20 billions was invested. The map of electric exclusion in the country revealed that the families with no Access to energy are mostly in sites with smaller Human Development Index and in low-income families. Approximately 90% of these families had income below three minimum wages and 80% are in the rural areas. During the execution of the Program, new families with no electric power in their households were located and, due to the appearance of a great number of demands, “Light for all” was extended to be concluded in the year of 2010. The Program was once again extended, now to be finished in 2012.



  1. Objective
  2. Target Group
  3. Output
  4. Key Features of the Case
  5. Sustainable Financing
  6. Supportive Policies and Institutional Environment
  7. Building Local Capacity and Skills
  8. Community Participation and Including Local Stakeholders
  9. Achieving Co-Benefits
  10. Affordability and Technical Issues
  11. Local Champions
  12. Monitoring and Evaluation
  13. Replicability and Scaling-up
  14. Contact
  15. References and Further Reading



The objective is achieving universalisation of electric power usage in the rural areas. 


Target Group

The target group is families with no access to electricity in the rural areas. 



The rate of rural households with electricity was 71% in 2000. After "Light for all" program this rate increased to 92,6% in 2010.



Almost 15 million people have benefitted from this program.


Key Features of the Case

  • Serving goals were fixed per concessionaire and per Municipality, through the indication of the year in which the electricity universalization should be concluded. The compulsory completion of specific and prioritized targets by the electricity companies has promoted the development of projects that had previously low priority at the company level.
  • Each local electric utility was called to present an Universalization Plan, containing Annual Programs for Service Expansion, which must contemplate several indicators such as areas in which the extension of primary and secondary distribution networks will be performed for the connection of new households, kilometers of new extension of distribution networks, and goals of the quantity of consumer units to be attended.
  • The concessionaires must provide electricity to every citizen that requests this service, always and whenever the household to be connected has its land tenure regularized or in process of regularization.
  • Use of renewable energy sources in the process of supplying electricity and securing inclusion of isolated areas.


Sustainable Financing

To provide services to 15 million people, there were plans of investments of approximately R$ 20 billion, of which R$ 14,3 billion was from the Federal Government. The federal resources come from energy funds – Energetic Development Account (CDE) and the Reversion Global Reserve (RGR). The remaining financial resources, about 28%, came from state governments and from executor agents. Thanks to the subsidized resources and to financings with interest rates quite below the market, provided by "Light for All", the federal government anticipated the standardization of electric power in the country.


The participation of each one was defined by a Term of Commitment signed together with the federal government, state government and performing agents, with the intervention of the National Agency of Electric Energy - Aneel and Eletrobrás. In regions where the supply of electric power has been practically standardized and, thus, the investment would be of small sum, it was granted, to the concessionaires, a lower percentage of resources at unrecoverable fund, to minimize possible tax impacts. In São Paulo, for example, the subsidized values were of only 20%, once 10% to federal government and 10% to the state government, 65% financing by federal government and 15% of counterpart from the performing agents.


In the states of Amazonas, Acre, and Roraima, states that tax impacts would be quite high, considering that the investment to be made would have a high cost in relation to the concessionaries market, the unrecoverable funds were of 80% by federal government share and of 19% by state governments, and 10% by the concessionaires, as counterpart.


Supportive Policies and Institutional Environment

Resolution n. 223, from April 29, 2003, established the general conditions for elaboration of the Electric Power Universalization Plans aiming at serving new consumer units, and fixating the electric power distribution responsibilities. This resolution fixed serving goals per concessionaire and per Municipality, through the indication of the year in which the universalization should be concluded, according to the Service Index[1] existent in the respective area. Resolution n. 223 fixated a deadline for the complete universalization in each Municipality, being the most distant deadline the year of 2015, for the Municipalities with Service Index below 53%. Afterwards, these deadlines were reviewed and advanced to the year of 2008, due to fundamentally converge with the country's rural electrification plan, the so-called "Light for all" program.


The latest approved legislation that regulates the sector is Resolution n. 414/2010, which gathers and condenses several regulations about electric power supply. This resolution serves as a guide for consumers and distributors, defining how should be the initial service (supply solicitation, connections deadlines, budgets for supply works, charge re-handling), what are the pricing methods, how are the contracts, metering and billing, the possible payment methods, the clarification about the bill, the irregular procedures, the responsibilities of the distributor and of the consumer, the suspension of supply, how should be the service to community and the repayment for electrical damages.


[1] Ratio between the number of households with electricity and the total number of households.


Building Local Capacity and Skills



Community Participation and Including Local Stakeholders

A strong link between policies and local citizens that is supported by well-defined planning and monitoring tools is central to the success of electrification policies. Citizens have to be part of the electrification process and not only ultimate beneficiaries to improve the effective and prompt responsiveness of the electrification model to local realities. Only local citizens can identify the specific requirements of each location. The construction work is performed by energy distributors and by rural electrification cooperatives. The preponderant role is played by the concessionaires at the local level together with the civil society, acting in the implementation of the program through specific projects.


Achieving Co-Benefits

Improvement of conditions and opportunities to study, work, income, and healthcare in the rural areas, after the arrival of electric power. Below, the improvement rates attributed to "Light for All" provided by the ones interviewed.

To attend a school in rural areas has become easier after the arrival of electric power. School activities at night have improved for 40.7% of people.

Job opportunities have increased for 34.2% of this population.

Healthcare services availability have increased for 22.1% of those interviewed and family income has increased for 35.6%, showing that electric power is stimulating the economic and social development of the communities.

The "Light for All Program", encouraged business activities in rural communities, generating more income, jobs, and regional development. After the Program, there was a considerable increase in sales of devices, such as TV's, refrigerators, fans, CD players, freezers, and liquefiers. The number of purchased TV's, for example, jumped to 79.3% and refrigerators, 73.3%.

"Light for All" is, in fact, resulting in deep changes in the countryside. The quality of life and living conditions have improved for 89.3%, and 86% for the ones interviewed after the electric power.


Affordability and Technical Issues

Brazil has adopted performance-based regulation[1] to ensure that fair and reasonable tariffs are paid by the so-called 'captive' electricity customers. A performance-based, price-capped and multi-year tariff is used to achieve quality, reliability and universal service. Tariffs in general are relatively high compared to many other countries, especially those such as Canada with a comparable proportion of hydroelectric generation in its mix. However, it should be noted that the Brazilian tariff on average is more than 30% tax, a significantly larger percentage than imposed in most other countries (USAID, 2009).

The Electric Power Social Tariff is a discount in the electric power bill that can be granted to residential clients registered in the Unique Register for Federal Government's Social Programs (CadÚnico). The Energy Power Social Tariff was created by the Federal Government, with the publication of Law n. 10.438, of 2002, and regulated by the ANEEL by means of the Normative Resolution n. 414 of 2010.

The low income tariff (LIT) or 'social' tariff provides those qualifying with a large discount. Indigenous and quilombolas[2] people also have right to the discount. In these cases, the discount is of 100% until the consumption limit of 50 kWh/month.

[1] Performance-based regulation, is a regulatory approach that focuses on desired, measurable outcomes, rather than prescriptive processes, techniques, or procedures. Performance-based regulation leads to defined results without specific direction regarding how those results are to be obtained.

[2] A quilombo is a Brazilian hinterland settlement founded by people of African origin. Most of the inhabitants of quilombos were escaped slaves and, in some cases, a minority of marginalized Portuguese, Brazilian aboriginals, Jews and Arabs, and/or other non-black, non-slave Brazilians who experienced oppression during colonization.


Local Champions

The remarkable Program "Light for All" results have been achieved through a significant mobilization of political will and a precise definition of policies to promote full coverage.  The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MME) had the overall responsibility for set these policies. The multi-sectorial support of the policies, as per exemplified by the participation of as many as 13 ministries, together with the operationalization of the policies guaranteed by the regulator (The National Energy Agency -ANEEL), and the financial support of Brazil's major development bank are noteworthy.


Monitoring and Evaluation

The "Light for All" Program used the Human Development Index to monitor and evaluate the results.

In order to identify the impact caused by the arrival of the electricity to all families served by the program, the Ministry of Mines and Energy conducted a research by interviewing 3892 beneficiaries in 26 Brazilian states - with the exception of the Federal District.

The goal of the research was to evaluate in which levels the arrival of electric energy resulted in the improvement of quality of life, on leisure and comfort; in the local economy, with the acquisition of household appliances; if family income hás increased from the productive use of electricity; and, mainly, to keep these families in the rural areas.


Replicability and Scaling-up

The program results have attracted the interest of countries that still have barriers to the universalization of electricity, and Brazil has established technical exchanges with South Africa, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Kenya and Zambia, to bring the experiences of "Light for All" to these countries.

Authorities and technicians from these countries came to Brazil to participate in meetings with the Program national coordination, to get acquainted with it and, mainly, to learn how "Light for All" encouraged the economic growth of the communities that started to use electric power as a development vector.


In 2005, the Program was the theme of a conference on electric power held in Paris, France. One of the hostess of the meeting, the French non-governmental organization – Association for the Rights to Energy SOS-Future, considered the Program as a reference to the world, a well succeed experience to standardize the access to energy.

During the international meeting, held in 2006 in Brasília, by the Global Alliance for Energy Standardization (GVEP), the participants' attention was vividly lured by the recognition, made by that organization, on the enormous range reached and success of the Program "Light for All" implementation.



Program Light for All

Ministry of Mines and Energy

Phone: (55-61) 3319-5214 / 5012


References and Further Reading

Barreto E.J.F., et al. Tecnologias de Energias Renováveis Soluções Energéticas para a Amazônia. 1ª Edição, Brasília, Ministério de Minas e Energia, 2008.


Gómez, M, Silveira S., 2011. The Institutional dimension of rural electrification in the Brazilian Amazon. World Renowable Energy Congress 2011 – Sweden 8-13 May 2011, Linköping, Sweden.


Ministry of Energy and Mines (MME), 2010. Light for All A HISTORIC LANDMARK 10 million Brazilians out of the darkness. Brasilia, 2010.

For Further Information:


Energy access program in Brazil: “Light for all”






The "Light for all" program was launched by the Federal Government, it has been coordinated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, operationalized by Eletrobrás and executed by the electric power concessionaires and rural electrification co-operatives.


Program Light for All

Ministry of Mines and Energy

Phone: (55-61) 3319-5214 / 5012


Grid Electricity

Energy resource:

  • Unspecified grid electricity

Sub type:


    • Household


    • Electricity


    • National Grid

    Targeted area:

    • Rural
    • Peri-urban

    Geographical scope:


    Project status:

    Completed project

    Project start:


    End date:


    Implementing approach:


    Funding Type:

    • Grant

    Budget (Euro):