The public hearings allow the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL) to share the responsibility with society for restructuring the electric-power market. ANEEL counts on this mechanism to receive contributions on technical and regulatory issues under study.
The hearing process has two stages; first the participants send suggestions in writing, then ANEEL holds open debates on the subject. Until 1999, public consultations were held in which the Agency only received the texts from the collaborators.
Hearings may take place under the form of an exchange of documents whereby those interested send their written suggestions on the theme in question to the agency, or they may involve the physical presence of the parties in which case the hearing is scheduled beforehand at a determined time and place. In this way there is a considerable mobilization of society which participates in an active way in defense of its interests.