25 Jan 2022 10:56

Power cuts sweep through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

ALMATY/NUR-SULTAN/BISHKEK/TASHKENT/DUSHANBE/KABUL. Jan 25 (Interfax-Kazakhstan) - Power outages have plunged cities across Central Asia into darkness on Tuesday.

"Electricity supply has been disrupted throughout Central Asia's power grid," a spokesperson for the Kyrgyz Energy Ministry told Interfax.

As a result, "the entire country has been left without electricity," the spokesperson said, adding that "electricity supply will be restored within 30 minutes."

Kazakh Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOC) reported that there was a sharp imbalance in power distribution in the Central Asia grid that caused the widespread blackouts.

"On January 25 2022 at 11:59 a.m. (Nur-Sultan time), a significant imbalance in the grid power system of Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan), caused a frequency and voltage surge in the 500kV North-South high-voltage transmission line," KEGIC said in a statement available on its website.

The emergency automation (automatic frequency unloading) has been triggered to disconnect the Almaty and Almaty region due to the sudden shortage of active power in the system. The current shortage now stands at 1,500 megawatts.

The Uzbek Ministry of Energy said that a major accident in the power grids of Kazakhstan caused power outages in the cities of Almaty, Shymkent, Taras, Turkestan (regions), and nearby areas. Bishkek, Osh, and Chu regions in Kyrgyzstan have also been cut off.

Tashkent reports the subway shut down after a malfunction in the power emergency systems, traffic lights were off, pump pressure in the water supply system dropped and mobile connectivity was sporadic.

The accident that occurred in Central Asia's unified power grid on Tuesday has not affected the operations of Tajikistan's energy sector, spokesperson for the Barki Tojik National Energy Holding of Tajikistan Nozirjon Yodgori told Interfax.

"This system accident in the power grid of Central Asia has not affected us in any way, as we are still independent of them. We have not fully joined this system yet. Tajikistan is fully provided with electricity today," the spokesperson said.

PJSC Inter RAO, a diversified energy holding that manages assets in Russia, Europe and the CIS, has started exporting electricity to Kazakhstan after synchronizing regional power systems in the country, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

"At this time, exports are being carried out from Russia to Kazakhstan. According to our information, at 10:38 a.m. Moscow time [1:38 p.m. local time], there was a synchronization of the northern and southern energy systems of Kazakhstan," Inter RAO said.

Electricity supplies from Russia to Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan to Russia occur according to a schedule, with Kazakhstan supplying electricity to Russia during the night, and Russia exporting electricity to Kazakhstan during the day. Following the emergency incident, the parties reverted to the nighttime schedule, with Kazakhstan continuing to supply electricity to Russia, a source in the energy market explained to Interfax.

By 1:39 p.m., all 500kV North-East-South transit transmission lines were operational again in Kazakhstan, the KEGOC press service said in a statement.

"The Almaty load center was synchronized with the unified power grid at 1:39 p.m. and all consumption restrictions were lifted. The normal operation of the national power grid with the Almaty load center has been restored in full," the statement said.

Regional power grid companies of Almaty and the Almaty region are lifting the restrictions, KEGOC said.

Power supply to southern regions is being resumed.

The unified power grid of Central Asia consists of Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.


Power supply has been resumed across all of Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz Energy Ministry told Interfax.

"At the present time, power supply has been resumed across the republic's entire territory," it said.

A power outage hit Kyrgyzstan at approximately 12:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The Energy Ministry said power supply to the entire Kyrgyz territory was cut by a failure of the unified power grid of Central Asia. The Kyrgyz authorities began gradual resumption of power supply bypassing the unified power grid of Central Asia.

The power outage in Kyrgyzstan has disrupted cold and hot water supplies across the country, heating systems are not working, and hospitals are being connected to power generators, the press services for local companies said on Tuesday.

According to the Bishkekvodokanal water company, the Kyrgyz capital has been left without cold water as water pumping stations are powered by electricity. There are also problems with heat and hot water supplies from Bishkek's power plants.

Hospitals are being connected to power generators, and hospitals' Covid-19 red zones have switched to liquid oxygen, the Kyrgyz Health Ministry said.

There are also problems will cell phone signal and the Internet.

Kyrgyzstan is set to begin construction of Kambarata Hydropower Plant No. 1 in 2022, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Akylbek Japarov said at a press briefing on Tuesday in connection with a failure of the unified power grid of Central Asia.

"We are planning to begin construction of Kambarata Hydropower Plant No. 1 this year," Japarov said.

Kyrgyz electric companies were ready for a possible blackout and would now seek to increase the domestic power generation capacity in order to avoid similar incidents in the future, he said.

"We have an operating margin. Hopefully, the Toktogul water reservoir will be filled by April 1 and phase I construction of Kambarata HPP No.1 will begin. An investment of $18.8 million is envisaged for launching the plant. The overall cost of Phase I of the project is estimated at $486 million," Japarov said.

There is a feasibility study of the project, but it needs an update, he said.

"The money will come from the budget and investors. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have expressed their wish to participate in the project. A political decision will be made at the level of heads of state," Japarov said.

Back in January 2016, Kyrgyzstan denounced the agreements it signed with Russia in September 2012 to build and operate the Upper Naryn cascade of hydropower plants and Kambarata HPP No. 1. Back then, the Kyrgyz government said that a reason for denouncing the agreements with Russia was the absence of funding and a steep increase in the cost of a loan that could be granted for building the hydropower plant. The agreements were terminated on August 9, 2016.

An interstate commission will look into the causes of the power outage in Central Asia, Kyrgyz Energy Minister Doskul Bekmurzayev said on Tuesday.

"This is a force majeure situation. An interstate commission will look into the causes of the blackout, it will hold an inquiry," Bekmurzayev said.

A power outage hit Kyrgyzstan at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The Energy Ministry said power supply to the entire Kyrgyz territory was cut by a failure of the unified power grid of Central Asia. The Kyrgyz authorities began gradual resumption of power supply bypassing the unified power grid of Central Asia.

According to the Kyrgyz Energy Ministry, power supply resumed across most of Kyrgyzstan by 2:30 p.m.


The Uzbek Energy Ministry has denied social media reports, which claimed that the power outage in Uzbekistan might persist for the next few days, and has reported gradual resumption of power supply across the national territory.

"There have been fake reports on social media, claiming that the blackout will continue for another two or three days," the ministry press service said.

There has been no official reports to the effect, "and the resumption of power supply is in progress," it said.

All reliable information is rapidly published on web resources of the Energy Ministry, including Telegram, and by official media outlets, the press service said.

Major power outages were reported in several regions of Uzbekistan at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Metro services have been suspended and traffic lights are not currently working in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, where traffic police officers are now directing traffic at intersections. Pressure in the city's water supply system has dropped after water pumps stopped working, local residents said. Mobile phone signal has been patchy.

Operations have been suspended at the majority of Uzbekistan's airports owing to power outages, the press service of Uzbekistan Airports said on Tuesday.

"Owing to power outages in Tashkent and other cities in Uzbekistan, operations at the airports have been suspended," the press service said.

There is currently electricity only at the Navoi airport, which is continuing to function.

There are 11 airports overall in Uzbekistan.

JSC Uzbekneftegaz has suspended the work of one oil refinery and three gas-processing enterprises, as well as the production of hydrocarbons at 64 fields due to the lack of electricity, the company's press service said.

"Among the enterprises involved in the production are the Bukhara oil refinery, three gas processing enterprises (Mubarek GPP, Shurtan gas chemical complex and Uzbekistan GTL) have suspended their activities," the statement said.

The operation of 64 hydrocarbon fields has also been suspended, the press service said.

"At present, the schedule of launching facilities with the resumption of power supply has been developed, a temporary headquarters has been organized," the company said.

Uzbekneftegaz assured that the supply of natural gas, LNG and oil products to the national economy and the population will suffer no interruptions.

The power outage has forced Uzbekistan to suspend electricity supplies to Afghanistan, the Uzbek Ministry of Energy stated on Tuesday.

"Due to a major shutdown of electricity in our national grid, supplies to Afghanistan have been suspended," the statement said.

Currently, the top priority is to restore power supply for domestic consumption, it said.

"Export to Afghanistan will resume as soon as the situation allows," the ministry said.

Afghanistan imports electricity under a ten-year contract signed in 2019 between DABS company and Uzbekistan's National Electric Grids for the delivery of up to 6 billion kWh of electricity per year. Uzbekistan supplies Afghan consumers with around 35 MWh daily.

Turkmenistan was supplying Afghanistan with electricity, as Uzbekistan has been unable to do so, the Afghan national electric company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) said on Tuesday.

"Due to some technical problems in the Electricity System of Central Asia Imported electricity from Uzbekistan to the country has been cut up. Fortunately, DABS technical team has succeeded to connect Turkmenistan's electricity to Kabul for the first time," DABS said on Twitter.

A governmental commission chaired by the prime minister has been formed in line with the Uzbek president's order to identify and deal with the reasons behind Tuesday's blackout in several Central Asian countries, the Uzbek Energy Ministry said on Tuesday.

"The commission set the task, above all, to resume the power generation process and to restore electricity supply to consumers by energizing high voltage and low voltage power lines," the Energy Ministry said.

The governmental commission has set a number of objectives to the industry, such as to establish the cause of the latest power outage, to prevent its repeat, to work out measures to ensure stable power supply and to immediately put these measures into practice, it said.

The Uzbek power grid, which is connected to Central Asia's unified power grid, has a system of protection from accidents at the Tashkent and Syrdarya thermal power plants, and this system automatically disconnected both power plants from the grid. This, in turn, negatively affected the operations of major facilities such as the Talimarjan and Turakurgan thermal power plants, plunging most of the country into darkness.

A stage-by-stage process to restore electricity supply is continuing, the ministry said.