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Russian national grid blames heating, power failures on local utility providers

Moscow, 10 January: The national power utility UES [Unified Energy Systems] of Russia has blamed disruptions in thermal and electric power supplies on housing and utilities sector enterprises, which, it claims, grossly abuse technological discipline. The company emphatically disclaims any responsibility for such incidents.

UES sources told ITAR-TASS today that the low temperatures that have affected a considerable part of Russia's territory have forced the energy complex to work under heavy strain. In the first week of the new year, the holding company's enterprises have produced 15,580m kW of electricity, 230m kW more than expected.

"UES has prepared itself for the winter season in full. All maintenance and repair work had been carried out on time and the fuel reserves built up are above normal," a source in the company said. He complained that electricians working for the local housing and communal service enterprises often removed fuses from power-distribution boards, which often caused transformer substation breakdowns.

The UES official said that the holding company's personnel were not to blame for a single breakdown that has occurred since 1 January. Fuel reserves are bigger than expected, coal reserves by 8 per cent, and heating oil reserves by 0.3 per cent.

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