17:17 / 17.11.2022
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Sherzod Khodjayev speaks about electricity, Lukoil, graphics, thrift and theft

Due to the threat of blackout, it is necessary to establish restrictions on electricity supply in Uzbekistan. Electricity began to go out for hours in some places before it got really cold. Deputy Minister of Energy Sherzod Khodjayev answered journalists’ questions at the November 16 press conference.

According to Khodjayev, the main reason for power outages is gas shortage. Because 90% of electricity is produced in thermal power stations.

“I can say frankly that 90% of power outages today are not caused by outdated or underpowered power grids, but by a lack of fuel to generate electricity in our power plants,” he said.

Below are the questions asked by various journalists and the Deputy Minister’s answers to them.

- It is said that the terms of the long-term contract for gas production concluded with the Lukoil company during the previous government were against the interests of the state and society. It is assumed that this contract is one of the reasons for the gas shortage in the country. Is the government not thinking of changing the contract terms?

- Lukoil company fulfilled its one-day plan by 101.4%. Even if we look at the beginning of the month, it is fulfilling all its obligations to direct to the domestic market. Based on the terms of the agreement, it is a bit wrong to assess whether it is against the interests of Uzbekistan or not. Because the conditions at the time when the contract was being concluded required the parameters of some contract. But the gas shortage does not depend on the terms of this contract. This company is also fulfilling its obligations.

- Is it true that there is a power cut for 10-12 hours in the remote areas of the republic?

- No, it is not fair to turn off even for an hour. This is a coercive measure today. We will look into it if you provide information about the areas that are being shut down chronically for 12 hours every day. A table of restrictions has been developed. In some regions, if 12-hour outages are occurring instead of half an hour or one hour, without observing the time limits, first of all, we will study the reason, and secondly, if there is a human factor, we will take measures against these employees.

- We are witnessing that the situation in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan is better than ours. Why is it good in them and we are filled with?

- I can say frankly that no neighboring country can be compared with Uzbekistan in terms of the growth rate of demand for electricity. That is, in the last 5 years, the annual production and supply of electricity is the highest in Uzbekistan. None of our neighbors has an annual 7-8% (increase in electricity demand).

Is it good or bad? On the one hand, the increase in demand indicates that the economy is growing. Power outages are a seasonal problem, not a 12-month chronic problem. Even in the non-seasonal period, the demand for electricity is increasing year by year – due to the increase in business entities, production and the standard of living of the population.

If we compare the annual consumption of electricity per household in Uzbekistan, it is slightly higher than our neighbors. Annual growth of business entities is greater than that of all our neighbors: 70-75 thousand new consumers are connected to our networks per year.

[…] Saving energy should become a national idea. We ask for your help in this regard. If we do not learn how to conduct propaganda and economy, no matter how much we increase the supply, this resource will not reach anyone.

- You said that production is 15 million kilowatts less than our current needs. Why should this deficit be covered at the expense of remote areas? Is there a concept that people in remote areas cannot demand their rights, we can cut them off?

- To be honest, electricity is the most wasted in regional centers and the capital – street lighting, unnecessary illuminations... In this direction, we have introduced a new work procedure – to turn off 100% of useless lights after a certain hour, to completely stop the electricity used for advertising illumination during certain hours, and to deliver this saved electricity to the remote areas you mentioned...

The issue of wastage is very urgent in areas where electricity is regularly supplied, these are Tashkent city and regional centers. In remote areas, people do not waste because they appreciate electricity.

The issue that bothers us the most is the heating of buildings. There are too many cases of wasteful heating with natural gas, somewhere with electricity, and it is necessary to fight against it. This does not mean that additional electricity production should not be considered. We must increase production to 8-10%. One side of the issue is saving, and the other is increasing production and energy efficiency.

- You talked about the graph, where and how are the restrictions being introduced?

- In the case of a power shortage in the unified energy system, graphs have been developed to limit the electricity load. We will take action if we detect areas that are being deleted for longer than the norm. But today's shortage does not require 8-10 hours of shutdown.

- Recently, the head of the presidential administration spoke about gas thefts at CNG filling stations and said that measures will be taken. Has there been any action taken in this regard? Who are the rogue branches and what measures are being taken against them?

- We must accept it correctly, there are more than a thousand methane branches in the republic. Events here are still ongoing. I assure you that according to the results of the events, where and what kind of theft was detected, which branch stole how much, which of our employees helped them in doing this – we will disclose everything and make it public.

- Just now, if the electricity goes out for more than 1 hour, measures will be taken against the officials of that area. So far, how many officials have been dealt with in this regard?

- It would be wrong to hold our employees responsible for the restrictions introduced to date. They cannot supply electricity after insufficient production. However, if the limitation schedule shows 1 hour, but in practice 7-8 hours are being shut down, we will certainly take measures.

- Would it be nice to have some kind of hotline or bot set up?

- There is a short number 1154 for power supply interruptions, and 1104 for gas supply interruptions. We will also start communication via Telegram-bot.

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