Karabakh: villages left completely without electricity
In addition to all the hardships of post-war life, an energy crisis has hit Nagorno-Karabakh. After the signing of the peace agreement, the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic lost most of its hydroelectric power plants – only six of 36 remained.
Local authorities say the remaining hydroelectric power plants are not powerful enough to supply the remaining population with electricity.
Some villages live without electricity for weeks. For example, in the village of Aghavno [Azerbaijani name – Zabukh], located in the Lachin corridor [the road between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, which is controlled by Russian peacekeepers according to the peace agreement], there has been no energy for two weeks.
“Our government has promised that electricity will be free, gas is free, but we have none of this. Arayik Harutyunyan [de facto president of the unrecognized NKR] promised that he would come to talk to people. People gathered, but no one came to us,” a resident of this village told the Caucasian Knot, who asked not to be named.
Local residents are forced to collect firewood.
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The authorities promised residents that by the end of 2021 they will be able to use, depending on the season, from 60 to 180 cubic meters of gas, and electricity – from 300 to 500 kilowatt-hours monthly.
Cellular subscribers are promised three hours of free calls per month.
The unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh was mainly controlled by low-power hydroelectric power plants, resulting in a shortage of electricity, said Levon Gabrielyan, a local official at the Ministry of Economy.
“Before the war, there were 36 hydroelectric power plants. As a result of the loss of territories, six operating HPPs remained, one of which is the Sarsang HPP with a capacity of 50 MW. The potential of the remaining five is 25 MW, but due to the low water level in the rivers, the total generated capacity is now 5.5 MW,” Interfax quotes him as saying.
Gabrielyan added that work on the restoration of the power transmission line from Armenia is being completed, after which the load on the hydroelectric power station will decrease, and it is planned to cover the entire need of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh for electricity.
He did not specify what percentage of the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh today remain without electricity.
“There is electricity in Stepanakert, Martakert, Askeran region, there are very few villages in Martuni region,” Gabrielyan said in an interview with ArmTimes and added that it will not be possible to provide villages with electricity again without demining. It will also not work to build new hydroelectric power plants – all possibilities are practically exhausted due to the difficult terrain.