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HydropoliticsThe Itaipu Dam, Sovereignty, and the Engineering of Modern South America$
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Christine Folch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691186603

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691186603.001.0001

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(p.63) 2 Currency

Christine Folch

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the technicalities of the electricity tariff, how energy rent is conceptualized within Itaipú, and its effects on the Paraguayan government. It describes the making of a tariff, the base cost of electricity, and the political work done by a number before turning to “compensation,” the rent that Paraguay receives for energy sold in Brazil as well as the ensuing controversies that spurred the election of Fernando Lugo. This chapter also provides ethnographic exploration of favor-petitioning practices in the Paraguayan side of the dam and how administrators in the Lugo transition attempted to curtail such expectations. The calculations cast light onto the unappealing aspects of hydrofinance that enable the entire system even as the tariff formula and the social expectations into which it is embedded reveal broader postures toward state wealth, the public, and who has a claim to the financial resources of a nation. It explains the price of electricity and construction debt, as well as the social and numerical formulas for their calculation.

Keywords:   Itaipú Dam, Paraguay, electricity tariff, compensation, Brazil, Fernando Lugo, hydrofinance, electricity, construction debt

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