Severe Electricity Shortages Hit Russian far East Region
Severe electricity shortages have hit the far eastern Russian region of Primorye, leaving nearly 15,000 people without heat and shivering in low temperatures, local officials said Wednesday.
On New Year's eve, many apartments in the far eastern port of Vladivostok, Nakhodki, Ussriyska and other towns, found themselves without power, the local emergencies ministry told AFP.
Residents have been living in freezing conditions, as temperatures have fallen in some areas to minus 35 degrees Celsius.
On Wednesday, the first working day after the New Year holidays, disruptions continued and far from improving, the situation is likely to worsen in the coming days, officials said.
Average temperatures in people's apartments have plunged to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Farenheit), with power cuts of six to eight hours a day.
The emergencies ministry blamed the shortages on lack of fuel supplies and a series of small accidents at the region's main generating plant, which supplies 60 percent of its energy needs.
The mayor of Vladivostok, Yury Koluipov, criticized the regional electricity company for penalizing the city.
"Although Vladivostok is one of the most prompt in paying its electricity bills, they always restore our power supplies after everyone else," he told AFP.
Local pensioner, Margarita Kucherenko, 65, said she was forced to walk around her apartment in felt boots and two sweaters to keep warm.
"It's only ten degrees Celsius! What can I do? I can't even switch on an electric heater as the electricity doesn't even work," she complained -- VLADIVOSTOK (AFP)
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