Siemens Energy to Provide Hydrogen-Capable Gas Turbines to OPPD

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Industry News

Brazilian Utility in Trouble over Alleged Cat Defamation

LCG, April 18, 2002-Light, a Brazilian utility majority owned by Electricite de France, is facing a lawsuit filed by an animal protection group regarding its use of cats in advertisements.

Suipa, the group filing the suit, says it wants no money, just the cessation of advertisements negatively referencing cats.

Illegal electricity connections in Brazil can be seen all over poor areas. Calling them "gato," Portuguese for "cat" and for "thief," Rio de Janeiro's main electricity distributor, Light, has launched a substantial media campaign against the illegal electricity connections. The advertisements utilize meowing cats, and according to a Reuter's interview, instruct viewers to "say no to the cat."

Suipa worries that the advertisements encourage abuse of cats, and the group contends that the number of abandoned cats has increased by sixty percent since February and that unusually high numbers of mutilated cats have been reported.

Officials from Light assert that illegal connections were called "gatos" long before their ad campaign was launched and that they did not mean to vilify cats.

The company has recovered $43 million for their efforts to diminish electricity theft.

Over ninety percent of the country's electricity is derived from hydroelectric sources. Brazil had to severely ration its electricity between June 2001 and February because of droughts.

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