Power crisis in Moscow and central Russia largest ever recorded

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A huge power outage occurred in Moscow today. The failure in the accumulative power supply system in Mosenergo which occurred at 11:15 a.m. local time on Wednesday, led to a power outage in all areas of the city.

Power for lights failed in apartment buildings. Some lines of the Moscow underground stopped for four hours. Trams and trolley buses, electric trains of the Moscow railway also stopped. Hundreds of people were trapped in apartment building lifts. In addition to lighting problems, the homeowners have also lost their water supply, as pumping stations in Mosvodokanal also lost power because of the failure.

15 big cities and five areas of Moscow suburbs, some areas of the Tula and Kaluga areas were left without electricity.

At 12:00 noon, food shops in the affected areas started closing. In shops where sellers continued trading, huge queues accumulated.

To avoid panic at train stations, workers with megaphones informed passengers of train movements. At train stations, reserve power supplies are being used. According to eyewitnesses, there was no electric lighting at many stations and in transitions between them. Escalators also did not work.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Thursday morning trolley buses and trams still do not work in southern areas of Moscow. Despite repair work conducted during the night, it was impossible to power all trolleybus and tram lines. In total 8 tram and 25 trolleybus routes do not work. Buses will take over those routes. Besides this, in the south of Moscow there are still many disconnected apartment houses.

All stations of the Moscow underground are working normally. All trains are running on schedule.

The entrance to Moscow for supersize automobiles will be limited up to 14 o'clock in the afternoon. The limitation was put in place yesterday because of difficult road conditions in the city after the power failure.

Causes

The head of Minpromenergo (Ministry of Industries and Energy) Victor Hristenko, addressing to the deputies of the State Duma, has declared that the cause of failure of the electrical system was in the Central region of Russia because of a fire and an explosion on the substation of Mosenergo named "Chagino", located in Kapotnya. As a result of a cascade power outage on Wednesday, 25th May, 53 Moscow substations have been disconnected. 46 from them have started working by 23.00, Wednesday, six more - by 6.00, Thursday.

According to the deputy head of the Russian Joint Stock Company "Unified Energy System of Russia" (RAO UESR) Andrey Trapeznikov, some reasons of failure are considered. He said that the failure of one of substations of the Russian Open Society "United Power Systems" was a cause. Later in the morning, when people were work, air conditioners were turned on. Consequently, the system could not handle the overload, and started the cascade shutdown of consumers of the electric power. Trapeznikov has noted that scales of the failure could of been much more serious. The further switching-off was stopped by substations of Tula and Kaluga which had sustained the overload.

The head of the RAO UESR Anatoly Chubays has made apologies for the inconveniences caused to inhabitants of Moscow, Tula and Kaluga areas. He said: "The failure is on our conscience, it is our mistake".

Sources