Dark secrets of planned outages


In Bakiyev’s troubled times, Kyrgyzstan learned what rolling blackouts are. Those times, fortunately, are long gone. Now every new Minister of Energy (and there have already been quite a few) assures the people that there will be no more rolling blackouts. But instead of the rolling ones, PLANNED shutdowns are in full swing.

Now the main enemy is old equipment

What is the difference between rolling and planned? Perhaps, in the fact that with the fan we more or less knew exactly when, where and how long there would be no light. Planned shutdowns mean nothing of the sort. Maybe they will notify you in advance, or maybe they will not consider it necessary.

There is a village ten kilometers from the capital with the mocking name Energetik. Why is the name mocking? Because the past summer and the coming autumn were marked by the systematic absence of this very electrical energy there.

Another village adjoins Energetik, the name of which has recently also caused a sarcastic smile – GES-5. Paradox: there is a small hydroelectric power station, but there is no electricity.

When the light disappears as a result of an accident, everything is clear. This happens unexpectedly, the relevant services begin to look for what is broken, then repair it. Frequent accidents, the power engineers explain, happen mainly due to the fact that most of the equipment is still Soviet-made, and it is surprising how it has not completely failed yet.

Why is the equipment old? Because the state, the power engineers again explain, does not have enough money to purchase and install a new one.

Kyrgyzstanis, who are friends with the Internet, have long adapted to start every morning by viewing messages, where a shutdown is expected today. If you believe the words of the same power engineers, this is done solely for our benefit: for the maintenance of equipment so that it does not fail at the most inopportune and crucial moment. But the disabled lists, updated every day, are too long.

True, advance notice of a blackout does not apply to everyone. Here, no one warns the residents of Energetik about anything. In the morning you go to the website of Severelectro or some news agency, read carefully where a scheduled power outage is expected today. You don’t find your area on the list, you relax. But not for long. At nine o’clock in the morning the light is turned off. And it turns on at five or six in the evening. That is a classic “planned” shutdown.

So it was in July and August (two days in a row in July), so it happens in September. Only in September more often. Once a week is a must.

Residents call the Kantsky RES (the village belongs to it). A pleasant male voice answers, which takes a long time to specify what kind of settlement in question. Finally, he thinks and happily reports: “Yes, you have taken out the transformer.” Who took it out, why, when they bring it back – the information is classified as “secret”.

– Why no warning?

What, you weren’t warned? Should be.

Who was indebted and why did not warn – remains unknown.

The dispatcher is still surprised why people are talking to him in raised tones. And how to talk brought to the handle?

There would be a single case – it would be possible to swallow. Our people are extremely patient. The trouble is that the situation repeats itself regularly. You can even say – systematically, with an unknown period of the next blackout. And you need to know it in order to attach food to a cool place, charge phones, warn the employer that it will not work today (many people in the village work remotely).

The more removed ministers, the less light

Pessimists predict a dark and cold winter. This is very bad because something is wrong with the domestic energy

According to the Kyrgyz Energy Settlement Center OJSC, from January to July of this year, electricity production in Kyrgyzstan decreased by 14 percent, from 12.8 to 10.9 billion kWh.

And this, oddly enough, despite the fact that, according to the same Ministry of Energy, the water level in the Toktogul reservoir has reached 13.5 billion cubic meters. This seems to be good, given that the Ministry of Energy expected to accumulate such a volume no earlier than by October 1.

Acting Minister of Energy Ta-alaibek Ibraev in one sentence clearly described what is happening in the industry: ministers come and go, and ordinary power engineers are preparing for winter. That is, it turns out, there is really no one to ask today. Someone is doing some kind of preparation, but no one is specifically responsible for anything.

Taalaibek Ibrayev began acting as minister after the departure of Doskul Bekmurzayev on September 13, against whom the Prosecutor General’s Office opened two criminal cases. Both cases are related to malpractice, and one of them concerns sending people on foreign business trips at the expense of the state budget who are not related to the Ministry of Energy.

Doskul Bekmurzaev served as Minister of Energy for a year. His predecessor, Kubanychbek Turdubaev – even less, only a month. We have an interesting personnel policy. A person is appointed to a high position, who is presented as an exceptional specialist in this industry and a very talented manager. And after a month or two, it suddenly turns out that he does not correspond to his position at all, moreover, he abuses and corrupts. Is everyone so successfully disguised before the appointment, or is it something else?

September 16, acting Minister Taalaibek Ibraev could say little about the state of the industry entrusted to him, since, according to him, he had not yet got into the know. But he spoke about the draft financing agreement between Kyrgyzstan and the World Bank. Under the agreement, our country will receive $50 million for the modernization of the electric power sector. Of these, 25 million is a loan, the other half is a grant. With this money, it is planned to purchase new transformers and modernize distribution networks.

Everything would be fine if you do not remember that today the international debt of the Kyrgyz Republic in the energy sector is already 137 billion soms. Where are these billions? What are they spent on, if there were no improvements in power supply, and no? And this horrendous loan will have to be repaid!



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