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Electricity supply from Ukraine to Crimea stopped because of tower collapse — supplier

December 31, 2015, 11:32 UTC+3 KIEV

Overnight to December 31, electric power supply of the Republic of Crimea from Ukraine through the only working power transmission line was again disrupted

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© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

KIEV, December 31. /TASS/. Electricity supply from Ukraine to the Republic of Crimea has been disrupted because of the collapse of the Kakhovka-Titan high-voltage power transmission line, spokesman for Ukraine’s power utility Ukrenergo Zinovy Butsyo said on Thursday.

"A fallen powerline tower was detected during a midnight walk around inspection. No detailed examination was possible in the dark. Therefore, the nature of the damage will be established at dawn. The equipment repair request has been submitted, so the relevant measures will be taken to repair the damage - the powerline tower will be fixed or replaced," the official said on the 112 TV channel.

According to him, earlier, "a repair team carried out an inspection of the equipment in Kakhovka of Ukraine’s Kherson region, but did not detect any damage to the substation, but a second attempt to switch on the powerline failed."

Crimeaт leader demands that power supply to all residents be ensured for New Year

Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov has demanded that all houses of Crimean residents should be provided with electric power and heating supply for the New Year. Aksyonov made the statement at a meeting with the heads of local administrations.

"The residential sector is a priority. All the agencies that provide services to citizens during the New Year celebrations should be equipped with diesel generators. This is the main task. Crimeans should celebrate the New Year in a good mood, with heating and electricity supply," Aksyonov said.

According to Aksyonov, it was small surprise for Crimea. "Nothing unusual has happened - we have expected all the problems we are concerned about. Including the low air temperatures", he said, adding that the state of emergency is still in effect.

The weather forecast says it is partly cloudy in Crimea on Thursday with snow, blizzard at times and sleet on the roads. According to the weather forecasters, the air temperatures on the peninsula during the night are 16-11 degrees Celsius below zero, and during the day - 11-6 degrees Celsius below zero.

Overnight to December 31, electric power supply of the Republic of Crimea from Ukraine through the only working power transmission line was again disrupted. "The power flow is zero now. We have not received any warning, that's all I can tell," Crimean Minister of Fuel and Energy Svetlana Borodulina said. According to her, this incident will not entail serious consequences for the residents of Crimea. She did not specify the electricity volume that had been supplied from Ukraine. According to official data, the energy flow did not exceed 150 MW, which is about 10% of the peninsula’s demand. Ukrenergo said the outage was caused by the activation of the automatic protection system on the Kakhovskaya-Titan power transmission line.

November blackout

Under the standard scheme, electricity from Ukraine to Crimea had been supplied on four power transmission lines through Ukraine’s Kherson region. However, on November 22 this year, the radicals that have staged a transport blockade of the Crimea, damaged towers of each of the powerlines, causing massive power outage on the peninsula. A state of emergency was introduced in the republic, an energy saving regime was imposed on the peninsula, with many enterprises suspending their activity; rolling blackouts started in all inhabited localities.

More than 1.1 million people remained without electricity in Crimea and Sevastopol. According to Kiev, the blackout was caused by blowing up of towers of the powerline in Ukraine that feeds power to the peninsula. Residents of Crimea went to work on November 24 after an additional day off announced for saving energy in the state of emergency. Rolling blackouts in Crimea continued across the peninsula. The work of social facilities, in particular, schools and universities, depended on the availability of alternative power sources. "Each institution of secondary, vocational and higher education will select the form of educational process organisation based on the situation with power supply in the region and the availability of alternative power sources," the regional Education Ministry said then.

The ministry advised the municipalities to consider the possibility of shifting the time for the beginning of classes so that the children could go to school not in the dark. In addition, a week-long holiday may be organised for the first grade students. Junior school (1-4 grades) students should be provided with dry rations instead of the hot breakfast because of problems with storage of products. Kindergartens were transferred to 4.5-hour daily work regime.

The situation stabilized after the launch on December 2 of the first line of the "energy bridge" from Russia’s southern Krasnodar Territory, which gave the peninsula an additional 250 MW of electric power. The commissioning of the second line of the "energy bridge" on December 15 increased its power to 400 MW. Another two energy bridge lines are to be commissioned in spring, which will make it possible to make Crimea independent of Ukrainian electric energy. Besides, the construction of two basic thermal electric power plants with the power of 940 MW started.

On December 29, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the issue of electricity supply to Crimea should considered by the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine. The contract on the supply of electricity from Ukraine to the peninsula expires on December 31.

Previously, one of the organizers of the blockade of Crimea Mustafa Dzhemilev said that the extension of the contract on the electric power supply to the peninsula from Ukraine was possible, if Crimea in the documents is named not the Crimean Federal District, but the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Crimea’s reunification with Russia

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014. The West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

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