Uzbekistan to withdraw from regional
Nov 9, 2009 - The Associated Press
Uzbekistan is set to withdraw from the
Central Asian unified power grid that links four Soviet
nations in the region, a top energy official announced
Thursday in a move that will prompt fears of deepening
electricity shortages among neighboring countries.
Uzbekenergo dispatch center chief Esso Sadullayev
wrote in the government newspaper Pravda Vostoka that
the grid has become a source of conflict between participating
Uzbekistan acts as a transit point for electricity
supplies between energy-rich Kazakhstan and power-starved
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
But officials have registered anger at repeated moves
by Tajikistan to siphon off more electricity from
the network than it was allocated.
"In the way that the Central Asia unified energy system
currently works, there is a real threat to the stability
and safety of Uzbekistan's own power system," Sadullayev
said. "In these circumstances, Uzbekenergo sees no
possibility of continuing to operate" in the grid.
Uzbekenergo says Tajikistan has illegally appropriated
around 100 million kilowatt hours from the system
since late last year.
Tajik authorities acknowledge their actions and have
made efforts to supply the intended users of the electricity
with amounts equivalent to what they took.
Countries in the region are highly dependent on one
another's power and water supplies, but have failed
to reach any consensus on how to share their resources.
Complex difficulties over resource-sharing are a lingering
legacy of the haphazard fashion in which national
boundaries were created during the Soviet Union.
Local reports have suggested Uzbekistan will begin
seeking payment for electricity transmission through
its lines, whereas transit rights for power deliveries
from Kazakhstan to cash-strapped Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
were previously provided for free.
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have also been studying
ways to link their grids directly, although Kazakhstan
warned last month it may also pull out of the regional
grid in the even of further misappropriations of electricity.
In a related development, Tajikistan's power company
announced Thursday that will suspend electricity supplies
to several regions in the country, raising concerns
of another winter of crippling blackouts.
Tajik energy officials say they are negotiating with
Uzbekistan to allow the transit of electricity from